As of July 6th, APS offices are open to staff and invited visitors. The Society will remain closed to the public for at least the rest of the summer. Library & Museum staff now have access to our collections and will respond to reference and photoduplication requests as soon as possible. However, please note that response times may be delayed due to increased demand. The Society will continue a robust slate of virtual programs throughout the summer and fall. Read more about virtual programming and resources that can be accessed remotely. For further information on the APS reopening and its COVID response, please click here.

Zoom Backgrounds from the Digital Library

Michael Madeja is the Head of Education Programs at the APS Library & Museum. Prior to joining the Museum team...

If you’ve been spending as much time on Zoom or are longing for a change in scenery like we are, we suggest using these images from the APS Digital Library as virtual backgrounds. Download one or all of them! If you use them, let us know by grabbing a screenshot while using them and share with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Here’s some useful knowledge on how to apply these new backgrounds on your desktop Zoom app. For more specifics and information, we recommend following Zoom’s guidelines, here. If you’ve been having trouble using virtual backgrounds, the page might also be able to explain that.

Instructions:

Choose your preferred background below. Click on the image to download and save to your computer.

Open Zoom, log in, and navigate to account settings.

Select “Virtual Background” and then choose the “+” icon to add the desired image as a background option. 

Note that this isn’t the only way! You can also add the backgrounds while in a meeting by opening your video settings. And, this isn’t the only way to get APS backgrounds! Again, explore our Digital Library for more inspiration. 


Backgrounds

Philosophical Hall

Philosophical Hall

APS Zoom Background

Download here

Philosophical Hall (lovingly abbreviated by staff to “Phil Hall”) has been home for the APS since 1790.

Reading Room, APS Library

APS Library reading room

APS Zoom Background

Download here

If you need a background that inspires quiet, diligent reading. The Reading Room in Library Hall is where researchers view the APS collections.

SE Corner, 3rd and Market

Southeast 3rd and Market

APS Zoom Background

Download here

One of many Thomas Birch prints showcasing Philadelphia in the late 1790’s. 

Columbia University, Fly Room (1920’s) 

Fly lab room, Columbia Univeristy

APS Zoom Background

Download here

If you need a science background, we recommend this one! Or, if you’d like to have flashbacks to raising fruit flies during AP Bio. Either way, it’s a great choice. 

Boating on the Schuylkill 

Boating on the river

APS Zoom Background

Download here

This oil painting by Thomas Birch shows a relaxing view of the Waterworks on the Schuylkill River (for those outside of Philadelphia, we pronounce that Skoo-kull). 

Peale, West Point

View of West Point from the mountains

APS Zoom Background

Download here

This watercolor by APS favorite, Charles Willson Peale, shows a “View of West Point from the side of the mountain.”

Waterworks, with bridge and building (1839) 

Waterworks bridge and building

APS Zoom Background

Download here

What can we say, staff still love this view. With Philly in peak spring, it’s nice to have a historic version of a view we crave. This chromolithograph is by James Charles Armytage. 


For more downloadable Zoom backgrounds around the greater Philadelphia area — including some from our friends at Eastern State Penitentiary, Elfreth’s Alley, and the Liberty Bell — check out the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau's offerings.

Remember to let us know if you use any of these backgrounds by grabbing a screenshot while using them and share with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.