The Nine Muses by Carlos Dorrien 1990-1997


The Basics

What is it: A mostly outdoor sculpture garden, with a few exhibition buildings, displaying 400+ works of art, AND a beautifully landscaped horticultural site.  Plenty of open space–very kid friendly.

Location: Okay, all right, it’s not in Philly but near Philly! The drive took us less than 45 minutes.

80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton New Jersey 08619 ; Free parking on site

Detail from The Nine Muses

Hours: 10-6 daily (this may change 3/31)

Cost: At this time, $10 for all except children under 5 free.  Advance, timed tickets are required due to the pandemic.

Annual memberships for families range from $160-$200 and all include two adults, 4-6 children or grandchildren, guest passes, discounts, and free member events.

Pandemic restrictions: Masks required. Indoor exhibit halls and indoor dining are closed.  There is an outdoor eating area with limited selections of food and drink  available.


Depression Breadline by George Segal 1999

Brief History

Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) was created as a place to exhibit sculpture and as a garden and arboretum. The design included formal and informal aspects. Paved terraces, pergolas, and courtyards juxtaposed natural woodlands, ponds, and bamboo groves.

In 1984, J. Seward Johnson, sculptor and philanthropist, envisioned a public sculpture garden and museum in Hamilton, New Jersey. His desire was to make contemporary sculpture accessible to all on the site of the old new Jersey State Fairgrounds. It has been collecting key examples of sculptural works and installations by American and international artists in wood, bronze, stone, stone, steel, paper, and assemblage since the museum’s inception in 1992.  The collection program is focused on the works of the most important sculptors of the last 60 years and is committed to adding the works of some of the most engaging and relevant sculptors of today.

Landscape construction began in 1989. GFS opened to the public in 1992. Since that time, it has welcomed over three million guests. The sculpture park, which started on 15 acres with 15 works of art on display, has expanded to 42 acres containing nearly 300 outdoor contemporary sculptures and exhibition halls as well, across the ever-changing landscape. It is a work of art itself.

Grounds for Sculpture hosts programs, events, and exhibitions, and in non-pandemic times, several restaurants.

More information at

What is Geometry? Peter Lundberg 1999

Jamie says:

What did you most enjoy at Grounds for Sculpture?

I liked looking at the Seward Johnson sculptures and figuring out the paintings they are related to, like this one, a take-off on Caillebotte’s painting Paris, A Rainy Day.

The works are very different from each other. Some are a little creepy, which is fun,  like these guys peeking out from a bamboo forest.

How long do you think it would take to see everything?

Well, if it’s just outside, maybe six-eight visits.  Once the pandemic is over and we can go inside the exhibition halls, maybe two more visits.  I also want to go in the gift shop and eat indoors.