Open to the public weekday afternoons
The Academy’s Library and Archives contain centuries of history—but anytime you enter the Library Gallery, you might see something new. Also called the Library Reading Room, this elegant space is filled with interesting objects, specimens, and stories. It is open to the public weekday afternoons.
Upon entering the Gallery, you’ll see portraits of Academy notables—from scientist and former Academy president Joseph Leidy, to the legendary environmental scientist Ruth Patrick, who passed away in 2013 at the remarkable age of 105. Tucked into a corner by the windows is our famous double-elephant-folio-sized, original copy of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America. You will see a huge Irish elk skeleton standing guard over the room, and you may even find a few additional surprises. You can learn about all of these items in our free smartphone audio tour. (Audio tour information available upon entrance to the Library Gallery.)
Throughout the room, you’ll see a variety of cases displaying our historically significant scientific specimens. These cases are regularly updated by our collection managers and curators, who carefully select their prized items to display. Take a moment to inspect the specimens and accompanying data up close. You’ll be sure to learn something new about our changing world.