Exhibits within 75 miles of Philadelphia

Permanent Exhibit

Making Modernity

Chemical Heritage Foundation | Visit site »

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
Location: Chemical Heritage Foundation
Masao Horiba Exhibit Hall
415 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

“Making Modernity” is a major new exhibition that celebrates how science shapes the modern world. Ten years in the making, it opens this fall at the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s new two-story museum hall.  The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Beckman Foundation.

From chemistry’s origins to today, “Making Modernity” brings to life the unexpected beauty of science outside the lab. Visitors can trace scientific progress from the laboratory, to the factory, to their homes and learn how chemistry created and continues to improve the modern world.

Drawn from CHF’s world-class collections, the exhibition ranges from cosmetics to computers and includes scientific instruments and apparatus, rare books, fine art, and the personal papers of prominent scientists. Singular scientific objects and everyday items tell the stories of discoveries that shaped our lives. 

Permanent Exhibit

Web of Healing

Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania | Visit site »

The Web of Healing is designed to serve as a pedagogical and public history resource. As you explore the site, you will be guided through the process of “doing history” and given access to the world of healing and medicine in Philadelphia during the end of the 18th century.

Permanent Exhibit

Dialogues with Darwin: An Exhibition of Historical Documents and Contemporary Art

American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science | Visit site »

Dialogues with Darwin, an exhibition drawn from the American Philosophical Society’s own Darwin collection—the largest outside of Cambridge, England—celebrates the Darwin’s 200th birthday and the sesquicentennial of the publication of his book On the Origin of Species.

Permanent Exhibit

Catching A Shadow: Daguerreotypes in Philadelphia, 1839-1860

The Library Company | Visit site »

Introduced into America in the fall of 1839, shortly after its invention in France by Louis Daguerre, daguerreotyping quickly took hold in Philadelphia. The city had all the necessary components to successfully support daguerreotyping – a well-established scientific community that embraced the technological challenge, an artistic community that recognized the potential, and a population large enough to sustain a new profession. Until their gradual displacement by the more versatile paper photographs, daguerreotypes evolved in just twenty years from technological wonders produced by scientific experimenters to treasured personal objects produced in studios by operators who, at their best, combined technological expertise with artistic skill. Drawing on the Library Company’s strong collection of Philadelphia daguerreotypes (and significant examples on loan from other Philadelphia institutions), 19th-century books about daguerreotyping, studio advertisements, and other daguerreian ephemera, Catching a Shadow illuminates Philadelphia’s role as a vibrant center of daguerreotyping. 

Permanent Exhibit

Secrets of the Diorama

Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences is known for its stunning, lifelike dioramas filled with animals and plants from around the world. Secrets of the Diorama, a new, permanent exhibit created by the Academy’s Exhibits Department, provides surprising answers to frequently asked questions about whether the animals are real and what’s inside of them. The exhibit provides insight into the detailed fieldwork, painstaking taxidermy and artistry required to bring a diorama to life. Touchable plants, rocks and animal body parts add to the experience.

Permanent Exhibit

The College of New Jersey’s Sarnoff Collection website

The College of New Jersey

The College of New Jersey is pleased to announce the launch of the Sarnoff Collection website at, including an on-line database that provides broad access to images and information about this internationally important technology and history collection.

Permanent Exhibit

Broken Bodies Suffering Spirits

College of Physicians of Philadelphia | Visit site »

No Civil War battles were fought in or near Philadelphia, but the war came here in other ways. On trains and steamboats, tens of thousands of wounded and sick soldiers arrived in the city, to be cared for in local Hospitals.

What was it like to fight, to become sick or injured, to take care of the wounded? Why did people—especially women—volunteer to work day and night to relieve the suffering of soldiers? What was it like to miss home or die alone?

We explore these questions via artifacts, anatomical specimens, and illustrations from the Museum’s and other collections. You can even step inside our interactive experience that lets you see what it would be like to have an arm amputated.

Open 7 days a week 10am-5pm until 2018
19 S. 22nd St Philadelphia, PA 19104

February 7, 2015 - May 10, 2015

Man Ray–Human Equations: A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare

The Phillips Collection and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Opens 7 February 2015
Closes 10 May 2015

Location: The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

Working in Hollywood in the late 1940s, Man Ray (American, 1890–1976) created the Shakespearean Equations, a series of paintings that he considered to be the apogee of his creative vision. Drawing on photographs of 19th-century mathematical models he made in the 1930s, the series was a culmination of 15 years of exploration of the theme in a variety of mediums. Man Ray–Human Equations displays side-by-side for the first time the original plaster, wood, papier-mâché, and string models from the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris, Man Ray’s inventive photographs of these unusual forms, and the Shakespearean Equations paintings they inspired. Placed in context with his other paintings, photographs, and objects, these works illustrate the artist’s proclivity to create art that objectifies the body and humanizes the object, transforming everyday materials into novel forms of creative expression.

The exhibition’s diverse works—including 70 photographs, 25 paintings, eight assemblages or modified “readymades” by Man Ray and 25 original mathematical models—juxtapose the artist’s Surrealist-inspired photographs of mathematical models and the associated Shakespearean Equations within the larger context of the role of the object in the artist’s work. His other canvases, photographs, and objects—some celebrated and others little-known—link his wider artistic practice with the Shakespearean Equations project and casting these accompanying works in a new light.

The exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

More information about the exhibit is available here

Rattle snake dissection, Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820)
Image courtesy of the American Philosophical Society

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