The Academy of Natural Sciences Welcomes Spring with Two New Exhibitions, Earth Day Festival and More
Calendar of Events April–June 2022
February 25, 2022
This spring the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University presents two new exhibitions and an Earth Day Festival with evening hours and special admission, as the nation’s oldest natural history museum continues a yearlong celebration of Water Year.
Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss, opening April 2, invites visitors to explore the mysteries of the deep sea, discover creatures no one knew existed until recently and experience the technology that allows scientists to travel to the bottom of the ocean.
The River Feeds Back, opening June 1, is an immersive sound installation created by artists Annea Lockwood and Liz Phillips. The exhibit brings visitors into the deep sonic environment of the Schuylkill River watershed through recordings and a layered sound map that captures glimpses of the river system including the life of aquatic insects, eels, fish and swirling currents.
The Earth Day Festival on April 22 will take place from 4–8 p.m. and admission will be pay-what-you-wish. Visitors can celebrate life on Earth and the systems that support it with a night of fun and interesting science programming, conservation conversations, craft beer and more.
The Academy and Drexel’s Water Year celebration is designed to provide a fresh perspective on the water systems that bind us together and inspire us to work collaboratively to ensure clean and healthy water for natural systems and human communities.
Here’s what’s coming up this spring. For details and the latest updates, visit ansp.org.
Invisible World of Water renews our appreciation for the vital element of water through artworks that combine the marvel and insight of both scientific and artistic inquiry. Centered around two micro-phenomena — snow crystals and diatoms — the exhibition presents parallel histories of observation and shows the interplay between the micro-cosmic and macro-cosmic. Invisible World of Water includes illustrations from rare books (by Robert Hooke, Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg and Ernst Haeckel); Victorian-era arranged diatom slides by Harold Dalton and others; microphotographs by Snowflake Bentley and Ukichiro Nakaya; artifacts documenting the groundbreaking research of Academy scientist Ruth Patrick; contemporary ceramic sculpture by Marguerita Hagan; stop-motion imagery by physicist Kenneth Libbrecht; and high-resolution photography by Nathan Myhrvold. The Invisible World of Water considers the hidden connections and the flow between water, land and air through Earth’s hydrosphere.
Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss
Saturday, April 2 through Sunday, July 24, 2022
Explore the mysteries of the deep sea, discover creatures no one knew existed until recently and experience the technology that allows scientists to travel to the bottom of the ocean in Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss. Newly discovered life forms, bubbling thermal vents, close-up views of compact research submersibles and shipwrecks including the Titanic, are among the attractions in this adventure developed in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Visitors will learn about the geological forces deep within the earth and how superheated water erupting from deep vents supports newly discovered life forms. The sun doesn’t penetrate the water at these depths, yet seafloor inhabitants thrive in total darkness thanks to a unique life support system. Extreme Deep reveals the secrets of the ocean and enriches our understanding of our connection to it.
Hidden Works of Nature: The Microscopic World in the Library & Archives
Fridays, April 1 and 15, at 11 a.m., Noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
The Academy Library & Archives opens its doors for special behind-the-scenes access to its rare books and unique stories connected to Academy history and the exhibit Invisible World of Water. In each 20-minute experience, staff will share collections that illuminate the stories behind scientific discovery. Free with museum admission.
Creek Exploration Field Trip
Sunday, April 3, 9–11 a.m.
Kirkwood Preserve, 855 Grubbs Mill Road, Newtown Square
Now is your chance to get your feet wet, literally, to help scientists gather critical data about our waterways, including the invertebrates that rely on them. Join the Academy of Natural Sciences and Willistown Conservation Trust staff for an exclusive outdoor opportunity to try some guided community science at Kirkwood Preserve. Test the waters and identify the species that live there as you learn about the ecology, equipment and methodology that scientists use to explore and understand creek systems. No experience or equipment necessary, but we do recommend wearing shoes that can get wet and muddy. Recommended for adults and families with children ages 8 and up. For more information and to register, visit https://bit.ly/35oBunq.
Junior Scientist Workshop: How Does a River Flex its Mussels?
Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
Mussels might be a familiar sight at the seaside, but how do they keep a freshwater river flowing? These bivalves are a filtering force of nature. Discover how mussels up and down our waterways are critical to the health of river systems. Examine Academy specimens and learn how the Academy is partnering around the region to restore mussel populations. Meet some baby mussels and try out a few filter feeding activities to see how hard these amazing animals work. Grades 3–5. For more information, fee and to register, visit https://bit.ly/3s8Mv5t.
Microcosmos at Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Sunday, April 10, 1–3 p.m.
Armored stag beetles meet in epic duels. Raindrops pelt a city of anthills. Marching caterpillars form a glorious parade. Employing special magnifying cameras, this sparely narrated nature documentary — one of the most successful, and still one of the best — reveals the insect world within a single meadow to be brimming with amazement, adventure and beauty. Hang around after the film for a presentation and Q&A with the Academy of Natural Sciences featuring live invertebrate specimens! For more information, fee and registration, visit https://brynmawrfilm.org/event/microcosmos/
Earth Day Story Time
Wednesday, April 20, 10:15–11 a.m.
Join the Academy for an exciting Earth Day story time. Have some fun with Academy experts and other young natural history fans and learn why water is an important resource and how to keep it clean. Join in for the reading of “Over and Under the Pond” and then craft a special finger-painted pond to learn how animals and plants need water to survive. Recommended for ages 3–5. For fee and more information, visit https://bit.ly/35oBunq.
There’s only one Earth, and we are on it together. Celebrate life on Earth and the systems that support it with a wild night of science programming and conservation conversations. Sip a craft beer or snack on a locally sourced treat while you ponder the clean water that went into making them. Meet Academy scientists and local sustainability experts to talk about how to get involved at home and afar. Focus on the future with solutions-based tips and talking points presented by Academy educators. Explore the stories of rare Academy specimens and take part in hands-on activities. Get inspired to take action to make the world a better place, one drop of water at a time. Pay-what-you-wish. For the full list of activities, visit https://bit.ly/3sdxY8H. Sponsored by Renewal By Andersen of Greater Philadelphia and The Rounds.
Access to Science Earth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 30, 9 a.m.–11 a.m.
Visitors on the autism spectrum and their families are invited to experience the museum before the crowds. Guests can visit the dinosaurs, dioramas and all the other exhibits at their own pace. Enjoy some quiet time with Academy educators to learn more about water conservation and how you can make the world a cleaner, greener place. Free with registration; to register, contact Visitor Services at 215-299-1060 or AccessToScience@ansp.org. For more details, visit https://bit.ly/356a8ml.
Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m.–Noon
Join the Academy for fun activities designed to help Kids Club members take action to protect our planet and water. Together, we’ll explore the issues that put our planet at risk and learn more about what each of us can do to help. At 10:45 a.m. authors Lena Champlin, Academy student research associate and Drexel PhD student, and Jeremy Wortzel will read their new book, "Coco's Fire: Changing Climate Anxiety into Climate Action." The reading will be followed by a discussion with the authors. This activity is part of the U.N. Water Challenge Badge with the Academy Kids Club and designed for ages 6–10. Kids Club membership is free. Register at ansp.org/kidsclub.
Junior Scientist Workshop: What’s So Mighty About a Diatom?
Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
The plants and animals you see by a stream might tell you a story about the ecosystem, but do the organisms you can’t see paint an even bigger picture? Microscopic, single-celled diatoms are the information powerhouses of our waterways. Get a rare glimpse of the Academy’s incredible Diatom Collection and find out how the Academy pioneered water research across the planet. Discover how diatoms have inspired scientists to invent special tools and create beautiful art, then take home your own daring diatom design. Learn why the Academy’s Diatom Collection has a big impact on the world, even though it has some of the tiniest specimens. Grades 3–5. For more information, fee and to register, visit https://bit.ly/34YJhsE.
Wednesday, June 1 – Sunday, October 16, 2022
The River Feeds Back, an immersive sound installation created by artists Annea Lockwood and Liz Phillips, will bring us into the deep sonic environment of the Schuylkill River watershed. Using recordings from sites along 135 miles of the Schuylkill and its tributaries including Wissahickon Creek, Lockwood and Phillips composed a layered sound map that captures glimpses of the river system above and below its surface, including the underwater life of aquatic insects, eels, fish and swirling currents. Participants will experience this dynamic sound work through a variety of listening portals spatially arranged throughout the Dietrich Gallery. Benches embedded with transducers will provide a visceral experience of the river, while hollowed tree trunks will transport listeners to the subaquatic worlds of the Schuylkill. A wooden table etched with a contour map activated by touch will pinpoint the artists’ recording sites. Free with museum admission.
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Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum dedicated to understanding the natural world and inspiring everyone to care for it.
THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES OF DREXEL UNIVERSITY 1900 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PKWY PHILADELPHIA 19103