Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is America’s oldest natural history museum, and a world leader in biodiversity and environmental research. For 200 years, the Academy has carried out its mission to encourage and cultivate the natural and environmental sciences, exploring the remarkable diversity of our natural world and sharing these discoveries with the public through innovative exhibits, publications, and educational programming.
The Academy houses one of the world’s top natural history collections, with nearly 20 million specimens of plants and animals collected from around the world. These collections represent a veritable library of life on earth and are of international significance. Scientists at the Academy conduct research into biodiversity, ecology, evolution, molecular systematics, and paleontology. Our staff actively adds to the collections each year and loan out thousands of specimens to assist scientists in their research around the world.
The world-class Ornithology collection at the Academy is widely recognized as one of the largest, most complete, and best-curated Ornithology collections in the world. It includes nearly 200,000 specimens and 20,000 tissue samples, representing more than 90 percent of the world’s bird diversity. Many specimens in the collection are of great historical importance, including specimens collected by Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, John Gould, and Witmer Stone.
Please contact Dr. Nate Rice for assistance in planning your next visit to the Academy and a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the bird collection. Dr. Rice can be reached at:
Nathan H. Rice, Ph.D.
Ornithology Collection Manager
Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Ben Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103