Becoming Weatherwise Opens April 8

“Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise.”

—   Poor Richard’s Almanac for 1735

Banjo Barometer
Maker unknown
APS. Gift of Charles Goring, 1795.

Open Fridays-Sundays April 8 through December 30, 2022, the new exhibition from the American Philosophical Society explores the history of climate science in America. Americans have long been curious about the weather. Europeans arriving on this continent had many questions about their new home. Temperature, precipitation, wind, and other weather phenomena drew their attention. Through observation, documentation, and collaboration—often with knowledge acquired from Indigenous peoples—they began to understand the climate.

Climate, meaning the long-term patterns of weather, impacts all aspects of American life. Understanding its patterns was especially important for an agricultural society. For centuries, scientists, farmers, military officers, and even elected officials have sought to understand climate so that they might predict, prepare for and ultimately control the weather. Modern science continues to reveal the profound implications of a changing climate and America’s role in that change. Understanding the climate matters.

From Benjamin Franklin to today, Americans have endeavored to become weatherwise. 

chart of gulf stream
Chart of the Gulf Stream
Benjamin Franklin and Timothy Folger
Philadelphia, 1786
Engraving from bound volume

Artifacts in the exhibition reflect the efforts of individuals to understand climate, including James Madison and his daily weather journals and Benjamin Franklin's chart of the Gulf Stream. They also demonstrate major collaborative efforts like the use of computer science to model climate change and citizen science projects to track weather data by harnessing the power of community participation. 

photos of cloud forms
Cloud Forms
Willis R. Gregg
Printed ink on coated paper

Complementary programming for the exhibition will provide visitors of all ages with opportunities to explore the history of climate science and engage with the weather around them. Visit the APS events page for the latest information on programs. 

Admission to the exhibition is free of charge but requires reserved timed tickets. Book your tickets today