Exhibits at or near Member Institutions

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Dialogues with Darwin: An Exhibition of Historical Documents and Contemporary Art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

Permanent Exhibit

Franklin Institute Permanent Exhibit:  “Franklin.  He’s Electric.”

The Franklin Institute | Visit site »

Created for the Franklin Institute’s 175th Anniversary celebration in 1999, the exhibit explores Franklin’s scientific genius: from meteorology and music, to electricity, optics, and aquatics. It also offers new insight into the inventive minds of other great scientists whom Franklin inspired, such as the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison.  Objects with historical significance are featured, including rare 18th Century artifacts from the Institute’s curatorial collections and Franklin’s own inventions and models, including his lightning rod and a reproduction of his bifocals.  The role of The Franklin Institute in major scientific breakthroughs during its 175-year-plus history is highlighted in a special section, “The Wonderland of Science.” This was a term coined to describe the museum shortly after its opening in 1934.

Drawing comparing the axis of the body with the pelvis in the human and the cat, by Joseph Leidy. Image courtesy of the Wagner Free Institute of Science.

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