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275th APS Anniversary Exhibition

Friday, April 13, 2018 through Sunday, December 30, 2018

History Kids & Families Downtown

In 2018, the American Philosophical Society will celebrate its 275th anniversary. Since its founding in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, the APS has endeavored to expand universal knowledge and improve the quality of life for all. Then, as today, prominent intellectuals were elected to be Members and met regularly to discuss ideas of the time. For 275 years, the APS and its Members have continued this Enlightenment mission, making important discoveries, pioneering new fields of study, and advancing social progress.

This exhibition will explore the long and eventful history of the APS from its founding to today. It will feature APS Members and the groundbreaking contributions they have made in astronomy, American democracy, exploration, art, paleontology, geology, anthropology, genetics, and many other fields. With the institutional support of the APS and through collaboration with each other, Members have contributed innovations that changed the world. They calculated the size of the solar system, explored new lands, collected and preserved Indigenous languages, and developed computer technology. Today’s elected Members continue to expand our useful knowledge and improve the world we live in.

Highlights of the exhibition will include Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of Benjamin Franklin, David Rittenhouse’s astronomical telescope, a draft of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s hand, Charles Darwin’s draft of the title page for On the Origin of Species, and Neil Armstrong’s annotated transcript of the moon landing.


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Venue Information

American Philosophical Society Museum
104 South Fifth Street
(adjacent to Independence Hall)
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-440-3440 phone

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The Water Works behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Erin DiSerafino.