Library and Archives

Plate 387, Birds of America

The Academy Library and Archives is internationally recognized for its extraordinarily rare and historic books, journals, art, artifacts, manuscripts, photographs, and the unique papers and research of Academy members and staff. The Library holds more than 250,000 titles that span five centuries (1520 to present) and two-thirds of all titles predate the 20th century. The 2,000 Archives collections contain over a million items, including manuscripts, field notebooks, correspondence, films, journals, and photographs.The Archives collections span four centuries (1692 to present), including art and artifacts.

Items in the Library collection may be searched, using the Library Online Catalog and Online Journals. Archive collections may be searched using Finding Aids and Guides. Images from both the Library and Archives are found in Digital Collections

The Library Reading Room is open to the public every weekday from 1:00pm-4:00pm. During that time, the page turning of the double elephant-sized folio of John James Audubon's, Birds of America takes place at 3:15pm. Also on view in the Reading Room is the current exhibit, The Morton Collection: Skulls of "Inferior Animals."  This exhibit features skulls of non-human animals, which were referred to as "inferior animals" in the 19th century. The skull collection was amassed by Philadelphia physician and Academy member, Samuel George Morton, and is part of the collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

For research and other visits, the Academy Library and Archives is open to the public Monday through Friday by appointment. Please see Visitor Information for more details.