The Philadelphia Antiques Show has taken place for 50 years and done more than just find new homes for decorative pieces and furnishings.
In the last half-century, organizers have raised more than $18 million for charity.
“That’s pretty extraordinary. It’s all done by volunteers,” said show chairwoman Gretchen Riley.
Riley and Mayor Michael Nutter appeared at a recent news conference to announce the new home for the 51st annual show. Since the announcement took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, there was little drama where the 2012 show would take place.
The convention center, near 12th and Arch streets in Center City, will host the show from April 28 to May 1. There will be a preview party on April 27.
Back in 1962, the University Hospital Antiques Show debuted at the 33rd Street Armory in West Philadelphia.
Over the years, the show has taken place at several locations, most recently at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
The convention center will provide a larger space for the 50-plus antiques dealers and galleries to display their treasures.
Riley said the convention center will provide more visibility, and the location is easy to get to on foot for Center City residents and by public transportation for others.
“It’s going to be great for the show,” she said of the new venue.
The sponsor is Drexel Morgan & Co., an investment management company. More than 200 volunteers organize the show.
“It’s among the top shows in the country,” Riley said.
Russell Kice, director of sales and marketing for the convention center authority, believes the show and the site will be “a perfect match” for many years to come.
“This is going to be an exciting event,” Nutter said.
Since the beginning, the show has raised money for the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
“We have a wonderful cause,” Riley said.
This year, proceeds will help establish the Penn Lung Transplant Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion Center, which will facilitate the rehabilitation of organs that are unsuitable for transplantation and expand the number of transplants performed.
“So many people die while waiting for lungs,” Riley said.
Nutter said the charitable aspect will make the show “that much more special.”
The mayor is hopeful that hotels, restaurants and merchants will benefit. Last year, 10,000 people visited the show.
Philadelphia is known for its “eds, meds and beds,” or colleges and universities, hospitals and hotels, according to Nutter. The mayor was happy when Travel & Leisure magazine named Philadelphia the No. 1 city for culture.
“The antiques show will add to that excitement,” he said. ••
For more information, visit www.philaantiques.com or the show’s Facebook page.