Since its founding in 1976, the African American Museum in Philadelphia has worked to preserve and honor African Americans' heritage through exhibitions, collections, and cultural programs. Four galleries contain exhibits delving into themes including the African diaspora, African American life in Philadelphia, and contemporary African American narratives. The core exhibition, Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776–1876, showcases a timeline detailing how African Americans lived in that era, and brings key historical figures to life through 10 life-size video projections. Visitors can interact with each of the projections, listening to their stories and requesting further topics of discussion, such as the Internet's role in their lives. Another gallery focuses on African American life post-emancipation leading up to the modern day. In addition to engaging exhibitions, the museum also boasts an extensive collection of historical artifacts, including Negro league baseball memorabilia, records, musical instruments, photographs, and the time machine that was used to retrieve each item.
By most people’s standards, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is old — founded in 1812, it’s the oldest natural sciences institution in the Western Hemisphere. But the Academy is a baby compared to the specimens it houses, some of which date back more than 350 million years.
Explorers Stephen Long and Ferdinand Hayden’s series of western wilderness expeditions formed the foundation of the Academy's 18-million-item collection, which it began displaying to the public in 1828. Over the subsequent 60 years, the Academy grew to three times its original size through donations, museum purchases, and daily doses of multivitamins. Now situated at 19th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Academy houses more than 35 dioramas of plants and animals collected during global wildlife expeditions, a live animal center with ceiling-to-floor observation windows, and nearly a hundred mollusk specimens. A tropical garden hosts live butterflies from around the world, while Dinosaur Hall contains skeletal mounts of more than 30 Mesozoic species, including a 42-foot-long T. rex.
Visitors to Elfreth's Alley Museum walk the same floors that two dressmakers once did in the 1790s. Today, the museum space?s restored rooms fill two of Elfreth's Alley's 32 historic homes; many of the others are still occupied by families. Staffers relate these houses' history from their construction in 1755 to the roles they?ve since played in a locale known for its connection to the arts and industry. During regular tours, guides share insight into why alleys and side streets were built, how middle-class people lived and worked in the 18th century, and why alleys were never known as roadlets. Visitors can take in exhibits including Fashioning Philadelphia, which recounts the lives of the area?s dressmakers, shoemakers, and tailors through the centuries, and The Irish and Elfreth's Alley in 1900, which tells the story of immigrant family life during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Born out of the three core principles of public engagement, collaboration, and design excellence, the Philadelphia Center for Architecture stays true to its founding vision by connecting professionals and community leaders through activities ranging from exhibits and competitions to charitable functions and workshops. The center also reels in a wider audience with public walking tours scheduled in conjunction with the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, revealing the secrets of some of the city’s most notable buildings with the help of trained guides. As a chapter of AIA Philadelphia, the center also hosts public forums between architects and community members, promoting dialogue about the importance of sustainable neighborhoods and the need for public spaces dedicated entirely to sack races.
The curator at Woodmere Art Museum hangs gallery walls with pieces from the museum's collection of works of Philadelphia art. Museum founder Charles Knox Smith narrates local stories to accompany the pieces in his collection of artwork from the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes Sarah Fisher Ame's bust of Abraham Lincoln. Future exhibitions such as Force of Nature will give patrons a glimpse of Elaine Kurtz's abstracted perceptions of natural forces and austere, minimalist portrayals of Mother Nature's perfectly sorted recycling bin. Woodmere's nine galleries and salons provide ample space for the Special Exhibitions, which rotate throughout the year.
As America’s first zoo and current home to more than 1,300 creatures, the Philadelphia Zoo hosts a cavalcade of winged avians, furry friends, aquatic characters, and slithering showboats on 42 sprawling acres. Gauge the ferocity of your roar at the Big Cat Falls, or visit the snow-strewn habitats of polar bears, snow leopards, penguins, and the Cheetos-dusted Amur tigers. Exercise your bipedality over to the primate reserve and speak firsthand with the trainers and conservationists working to save and protect endangered primates worldwide from the violence of video games and reckless taxis. The Philadelphia Zoo also features rides and attractions (at additional costs), allowing revelers to twirl about the Amazon rainforest carousel, paddle the swan boats, or take a ride in the iconic Zooballoon, where, from the comfort of the skies, the bearded pig's questionable facial hair is only turning children’s tears into raindrops.