Primary resources are a window into the past. In various ways, meteorological records help us understand the world that people lived in. Take a look at some of our digitized meteorological data and see what stories you can find. Look at your own relationship with weather and see if it’s reflected in the data early scientists collected. See what’s changed or stayed the same and help answer the question, “what was weather like in early America?” To learn about the APS' Library & Museum's historic meteorological records, as well as our ongoing school partnerships, check out the links in the column to the right.
Community Science Weather Data Project
The weather has always interested people. The APS's Library & Museum is home to various historic weather journals which document this long-standing interest in weather and weather patterns. The APS’ historic weather journals, coupled with the themes of the exhibitions Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist and Becoming Weatherwise, were the inspiration for a Community Science Project in collaboration with local students.
The 2021-2022 Community Science Project is in partnership with Bodine High School and Newtown Middle School. From October 2021-May 2022, students will collect daily weather data throughout the school week. Bodine and Newtown students are collecting weather readings similar to what is found in many historic weather journals: temperature, air pressure, wind speed, the general weather, and outside observations. Students are taking these readings at times similar to when Jefferson and Madison collected weather data: once in the morning to get a cooler temperature and once in the afternoon when the temperature was at its warmest. The students are keeping these records in journals of their own. APS staff then put that data into a digital form. All similar to what has been done with weather data gathered by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Click on their names to see what those datasets look like.
Among the early scientists whose records are at the APS's Library & Museum is a Germantown resident named Ann Haines. Ann Haines lived and took readings at what is now the Wyck Historic House. The APS will be partnering with Wyck throughout the 2022 year to help transcribe Ann’s weather journal and make her data accessible.
Historic Weather Data
Meteorologist at Home
Everyone can take part in weather data collection! To learn more about collecting your own weather data at home check out the Weather Journal Activity link to the side. While students are taking part in weather data collection at school, you can do your part and use the resource to the side to collect data at home.
Weather Data Transcription Programs
Join us for a series of three programs where we transcribe early citizen scientist Ann Haines’ weather data journal. In preparation for our 2022 exhibition around the history of climate science, program attendees will help APS educators in transcribing an early weather journal. Transcriptions from the journal will be used for a digital display in our 2022 history of climate science exhibition.
The Ann Haines’ weather journal is part of the Wyck Association Collection, which was deposited at the APS since the 1980s, and in 2019 was gifted by the Wyck Association to the APS. The Wyck Historic House out in Germantown was inhabited by nine generations of the Jansen, Wistar, and Haines families from 1690-1973 and can still be visited today. Wyck is partnering with the APS to get these journals transcribed and accessible.
- Monday, January 31 - 1:00 p.m. (ET)
- Thursday, February 17 - 1:00 p.m. (ET)