Academy of Natural Sciences marks bicentennial with discounts, symposium
The nation’s oldest natural history museum turned 200 years old in March and is marking the milestone with a yearlong celebration befitting its extraordinary history of research, exploration and discovery which continues today.
The bicentennial of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will feature a major new exhibition called “The Academy at 200: The Nature of Discovery.”
A special series of Town Square programs, some led by world-renowned experts, will focus on today’s critical environmental issues, and a science symposium will be held in the fall.
For museum visitors, monthly themed activities, giveaways, and discounted admission days will provide fun and learning for the whole family.
The bicentennial also marks the 30th anniversary of the Academy’s acclaimed Women In Natural Sciences program for Philadelphia public high school girls.
“This is an exciting time in the Academy’s history as we charge forward into our third century as one of the world’s great natural history museums,” said Academy president and CEO George W. Gephart Jr. “We want to share our story with Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians and Americans from coast to coast.”
The history of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is chock full of prominent people from John James Audubon, Charles Darwin and James Bond to Ernest Hemingway and President Thomas Jefferson to name a few.
The Academy has heralded some big discoveries — one biologist described more than 5,500 organisms — and monumental achievements: The museum was the first in the world to display a dinosaur skeleton. The Academy’s pioneering research continues to this day with groundbreaking studies on the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, climate-change in Mongolia, and coral reef fishes in the Bahamas.
The institution’s collection of more than 17 million plant and animal specimens, originally started at the first meeting of the Academy’s founders, is a vital resource for researchers around the world. It all began on March 21, 1812, when seven amateur naturalists founded ANS.
In 2011, the Academy became an affiliate of Drexel University, creating a nationally recognized powerhouse for discovery in the natural and environmental sciences.
At the time of the annoucement, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter praised the affiliation as creative and innovative. “The idea of two of our prominent organizations in science and education coming together to advance Philadelphia’s reputation as a scientific leader is one that I support fully,” said Nutter. “The advantages are clear, and the city, our citizens, and the natural and environmental sciences communities will be the beneficiaries.”
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, located 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, will feature special monthly discount days in honor of its yearlong Bicentennial.
On the 21st of each month, the Academy will offer two-for-the price-of-one admission. The discount offer begins April 21 and ends March 21, 2013. Regular admission is $15 for adults; $13 for children 3 through 12, seniors, college students, and military personnel; and free for members and children under 3. For more information and ongoing updates, visit www.ansp.org/200.