200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 182: ““A Glorious Enterprise” ”

« Under the Sun

Dino Bone Unveiled »

portrait of Robert M. Peck and Patricia Tyson Stroud
Robert M. Peck and Patricia Tyson Stroud, authors of A Glorious Enterprise.

“A Glorious Enterprise”

A new, richly illustrated book recounts the passionate personalities and the landmark achievements that shaped the first 200 years of the oldest natural history museum in the Western Hemisphere. A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science is the first complete history of the institution, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1812.

Written by Academy Senior Fellow Robert Peck and historical biographer Patricia Tyson Stroud, A Glorious Enterprise tells the story of the brilliant and passionate men and women who endeavored to acquire and disseminate knowledge of the natural world at the Academy. Thomas Jefferson, John James Audubon, Robert Peary, Ernest Hemingway, and James Bond are just a few of the colorful Academy associates profiled in this lively narrative.

Peck and Stroud take readers behind the scenes of the Academy, recounting the signal moments and achievements that shaped its first 200 years—from its landmark discoveries in North America and around the world, through the construction of its famed dioramas in the 1930s, to the pioneering work of Academy scientists in water pollution and conservation long before these were topics of popular concern. The 464-page book is richly illustrated throughout with hundreds of archival images and stunningly original works by acclaimed photographer Rosamond Purcell that cast specimens from the Academy’s collections in a new light.

On Wednesday, April 25, at 6:30 pm, Peck and Stroud will give a free presentation at the Academy and sign copies of their book. Boyd Matson, a lead on-air journalist for National Geographic, will interview the authors.

Plan your visit, check out our new exhibits, and find out about upcoming activities.
Discover the past and explore the future of the natural sciences in our online exhibits.
Make a difference, browse our programs, and get involved with the natural world.