The American Philosophical Society, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, proudly bears the title of the nation's oldest learned society.  Our founders participated in the birth of American democracy. It pains us greatly that all these years later, our nation's promise has yet to be fulfilled.  We join all Americans of good will in deploring the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Over these past months the Society has hosted a number of virtual programs.  Even as we now resume our work with the offering of new programs, our attention remains focused on the senseless loss of innocent lives and our commitment to the difficult, necessary conversations and actions we must all take to begin to ensure that such tragedies end. Read more about virtual programming and resources that can be accessed remotely. Read more about the APS response to COVID-19.

Updated: American Philosophical Society Response to Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

Updated June 8, 2020, 8:00 a.m.

Dear APS Members, Friends, Researchers, and Visitors, 

In an effort to safeguard the health and safety of members of the APS community, the Society is undertaking strong social distancing measures to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19. On March 19, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical locations. The APS, including offices and the Library, will be closed until further notice. We continue to monitor the situation and any further updates will be posted to this page. 

Response from APS Members

During the extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic, APS Council has passed a rare public resolution on behalf of the Membership calling on Congress to enact a National Defense Education Act for the 21st Century. Read the statement that has been sent to the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate.

Events and Museum Exhibition

  • The APS Members Meeting scheduled for April 23-25 has been cancelled. APS Members will be contacted directly about remote business meeting procedures. 
  • All APS events and public programs are suspended until further notice. This includes public lectures, museum programming, Lunch at the Library, brown bag seminars, and other group events. 
  • The opening of the 2020 APS exhibition Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist, originally scheduled for April 3, will be postponed until it is clear that it is safe to open to the public. 

APS Library Access

  • The APS Library reading room will be closed to researchers until further notice. 
  • The APS Library lobby exhibition will be closed to visitors until further notice.

Sanitation and Safety

  • Please follow guidelines from the CDC and stay home if you are feeling ill. Call your doctor for further guidance. 
  • Practice recommended activities to avoid exposure to disease: wash your hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve,  avoiding touching your face, use antiseptic hand lotions, refrain from handshakes or hugs, and limit contact with frequently touched surfaces.
  • APS staff will increase antiseptic cleanings of high touch surfaces including door knobs, elevator buttons, and light switches. 

Access APS Resources Online

Get Updates

We thank you for your patience as we navigate quickly changing circumstances and look forward to the time when we can resume regular activities. If you have questions, please call 215-440-3400 or email

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