In Franklin's Footsteps: 275 Years at the American Philosophical Society

April 13-December 30, 2018
104 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA

In 2018, the American Philosophical Society Museum will present In Franklin’s Footsteps:  275 Years at the American Philosophical Society, an exhibition that celebrates the 275th anniversary of the Society. It tells the story of the APS, focusing on the work of its elected Members and using materials from the Society’s renowned collections—from Benjamin Franklin’s library chair to Neil Armstrong’s signed copy of the moon landing transcript.

Since its founding in 1743 by Franklin, the APS has endeavored to expand universal knowledge and improve the quality of life for all. Then, as today, prominent intellectuals were elected to be Members and met regularly to discuss ideas of the time. For 275 years, the APS and its Members have continued this Enlightenment mission, making important discoveries, pioneering new fields of study, and advancing social progress.

In Franklin’s Footsteps features APS Members and the groundbreaking contributions they have made in astronomy, exploration, paleontology, geology, anthropology, genetics, and many other fields. With the institutional support of the APS and through collaboration with each other, Members have contributed innovations that changed the world. They calculated the size of the solar system, explored new lands, collected and preserved Indigenous languages, and developed computer technology. Today’s elected Members continue to expand our useful knowledge and improve the world we live in.

Highlights of the exhibition include David Rittenhouse’s astronomical telescope, Franklin’s personal library books, one of Lewis and Clark’s journals from their expedition, Darwin’s handwritten draft of the title page for the Origin of Species, and photographs of the first Bikini Atoll atomic bomb test.

An opening reception will be held on Friday, April 13, 2018 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. All are welcome.