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The APS Museum’s mission for exhibitions and related programming is to explore the intersections of history, art, and science. The Museum hosts provocative thematic exhibitions accompanied by a robust slate of innovative public programs, educational outreach, and artists’ commissions that interpret the historical exhibition materials and provide a contemporary view of the APS collections.
When Benjamin Franklin decided, in 1743, to establish America’s first "learned society," he called it the American Philosophical Society (APS) because he and his friends practiced the objective study of nature and called themselves natural philosophers. Now we’d call them scientists, but the word "philosophical" stuck.
In the first half-century of the republic, the APS served as a national library, museum, and academy of science. Today, the APS Museum presents ambitious exhibitions alongside challenging work by contemporary artists that display the Society’s treasure trove of scientific specimens, maps, books, manuscripts, art works, and objects that trace American history from the Founding Fathers to the computer age in new and thought-provoking ways.
A new exhibition, "Of Elephants and Roses: Encounters with French Natural History, 1790-1830," opens on March 25, 2011.
- Lisa Weidman
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