Visit the Museum

The APS Museum is closed for the season.

The APS Museum will reopen in April 2024 with its new exhibition, Sketching Splendor: American Natural History, 1750-1850.

The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” After almost three hundred years of knowledge sharing, the Society’s collections have grown to include 2.5 miles of manuscript pages and approximately one million rare books, prints, photographs, paintings, scientific instruments, Native American language recordings, and other objects. 

In 2001, the APS opened its Museum gallery in Philosophical Hall, the Society’s home since 1789. The Museum changes annually to highlight a different themed collection of objects from the Society’s Library. Previous exhibitions have featured items such as Thomas Jefferson’s hand-written draft of the Declaration of Independence, a notebook from Lewis and Clark’s Western exploration, a rare 18th-century telescope, Darwin’s hand-written title page for On the Origin of Species, Neil Armstrong’s annotated notes of the Apollo 11 mission, and the only known portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s wife, Deborah.

The 2023 exhibition at the APS was Pursuit and Persistence: 300 Years of Women in Science.

Each exhibition offers imaginative programs that interpret the historical themes and objects on view, encouraging visitors to make connections between history and present day. Check out our upcoming events and educator resources for more information.

APS Museum Blog