A committee of concerned Philadelphians gathered in 1875 with the purpose of creating a permanent art museum in Philadelphia. They petitioned the Centennial Board for use of Memorial Hall as a Museum. Following acceptance of their organization plans, the Corporation of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts received its charter on February 25, 1876.
Initially, the Corporation was managed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees of twenty-two members (membership numbers have been enlarged several times since 1876). The officers included a president, two vice presidents, a treasurer, a curator, and a secretary. Standing Committees of the Board included the Executive Committee, the Committee on Museum, the Committee on Instruction, and the Committee on Finance. Through the years, new officers and committees have been added, but the basic structure of the corporate governance has remained consistent.