American Philosophical Society Museum

American Philosophical Society


The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” After almost three hundred years of knowledge sharing, the Society’s collections have grown to include 2.5 miles of manuscript pages and approximately one million rare books, prints, photographs, paintings, scientific instruments, Native American language recordings, and other objects. 

In 2001, the APS opened its Museum gallery in Philosophical Hall, the Society’s home since 1789. The Museum changes annually to highlight a different themed collection of objects from the Society’s Library. Previous exhibitions have featured items such as Thomas Jefferson’s hand-written draft of the Declaration of Independence, a notebook from Lewis and Clark’s Western exploration, a rare 18th-century telescope, Darwin’s hand-written title page for On the Origin of Species, Neil Armstrong’s annotated notes of the Apollo 11 mission, and the only known portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s wife, Deborah.

The 2022 exhibition at the APS was Becoming Weatherwise: A History of Climate Science in America.

Each exhibition offers imaginative programs that interpret the historical themes and objects on view, encouraging visitors to make connections between history and present day. Check out our upcoming events and educator resources for more information.

America : United States (Mid-Atlantic)
Institution type
Non French Institutions : Museum or library

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