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Special Events, Exhibit Mark Papal Visit

PHILADELPHIA, August 25, 2015

To mark the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit to the city in September, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is creating a special exhibit on the scientist-clergymen in its history and is holding a public forum on climate change featuring a top advisor to the Vatican.

For families affected by school closings the week of Sept. 20, the Academy is offering a science day camp for children ages 5–12. Besides catering to local families, the camp, an extension of the museum’s popular summer camp, is open to the children of tourists and WMOF attendees.

The Academy will be open late on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 22 and 23. Instead of closing at 4:30 p.m., the museum will be open until 9 p.m. The museum will be closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25, 26 and 27.

The following are descriptions of the exhibit, forum and camp. For more details, visit

The Clergy and the Academy’s Collections
In the Library Gallery
Aug. 31–Oct. 23, Monday–Friday, 1-4 p.m.
On Sept. 21 and 24, the Library Gallery will be open 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
On Sept. 22 and 23, the gallery will be open 10 a.m.–9 p.m. It will be closed Sept. 25.

The Academy, the nation’s oldest natural history museum, is deeply rooted in religious activity, dedication, and belief. From its founding in 1812, the Academy has been enriched by the work of members of the clergy active in the Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Quaker, Jewish and Moravian communities. This special exhibit showcases the plant and animal specimens, objects, books, and archival materials that are the fruit of these “clergy naturalists" so closely intertwined with the Academy’s history. Just as St. Francis of Assisi is known as the patron saint of animals and ecology, the Academy advances these same principles through research, education and public engagement in biodiversity and environmental science. The exhibit is free with regular museum admission.


Climate Change: A New Dialogue
Monday, Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m.

In response to Pope Francis’ call for a “new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet,” the Academy will hold a special public forum of environmental advocates, scientists and community members for a critical conversation about climate change and the future. The panel of prominent thought leaders features keynote speaker and leading economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, who has worked with the Vatican on issues of climate change and sustainable development in advance of the encyclical.

Participants will discuss how science, environmental justice, urban planning and policy can provide solutions to help society, especially the most vulnerable, adapt to climate change. Since its founding in 1812, the Academy has explored the remarkable diversity of the natural world, and today its scientists focus on critical global issues in biodiversity, evolution and environmental science.

Sachs will lead a panel which includes Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University; Katherine Gajewski, director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; and Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Shannon Márquez, associate vice provost for Global Health and International Development for Drexel’s School of Public Health, will moderate the panel. Following the forum, Sachs will sign copies of his latest book, The Age of Sustainable Development.

“Climate Change: A New Dialogue” is free and registration is required. For more information and to register, visit


September Academy Explorers Camp
Sept. 21–24, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., with optional before and after care

The Academy is offering a special edition of its popular summer Academy Explorers Camp when schools are affected by the papal events of the week. September Academy Explorers Camp offers children ages 5–12 a unique, fun and engaging experience. Each day features a live animal presentation by an Academy educator, exploration of museum exhibits, games, crafts and activities. For details and to register, visit or call 215-299-1060.


Media resources:

For press release about library exhibit: click here.
For image and caption for library exhibit: click here.

For press release about climate forum: click here.
For image and caption for Jeffrey Sachs: click here.

Media Contact

Carolyn Belardo

Director of Public Relations
Phone: 215.299.1043