Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University Overview
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Programs: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is America’s oldest natural history museum.
The public museum is a top cultural attraction with nearly 200,000 visitors a year, including thousands of schoolchildren from the tri-state area.
The most popular permanent exhibit is Discovering Dinosaurs, followed by Butterflies! (a live, tropical butterfly garden), Outside In (the children’s discovery center), the Live Animal Center, historic dioramas, changing exhibits, and the Art of Science Gallery.
Since its founding, the Academy has played a leading role in biological research, discovering, identifying and describing plants and animals around the world.
The Academy’s environmental researchers are working to restore the health of urban rivers and wetlands, control the spread of exotic species and reduce non-point source pollution.
The collection of 17 million cataloged plant and animal specimens—many the first ever studied—comprises a comprehensive “library” of organisms that researchers around the world use to study issues such as climate change, water pollution, invasive species, evolution and extinction.
The Ewell Sale Stewart Library is among the most important natural history libraries in the world, with 200,000 books—some dating to the 1500s—documenting understanding of the natural world from the very beginning of modern science.
The Academy runs a robust education program which includes museum lessons for students, outreach presentations for schools and communities, auditorium shows for families, Head Start instruction for teachers, family field trips with Academy scientists, adults-only environmental workshops, and the acclaimed Women In Natural Sciences program for Philadelphia high school girls.
The Center for Environmental Policy hosts a variety of mostly free public panel discussions and speaker presentations aimed at engaging a wide variety of constituents, promoting solutions, and building public and professional awareness of important environmental and sustainability issues.
In 2011 the Academy affiliated with Drexel University, creating a nationally recognized powerhouse for discovery in the natural and environmental sciences.