New Exhibitions at the Academy of Natural Sciences in 2022
In Celebration of Water Year
January 4, 2022
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is celebrating Water Year in 2022 with a series of special exhibitions aimed at helping people better understand the critical role of rivers and oceans and how everyone’s actions on land affect the watershed system.
Nestled in the heart of Philadelphia’s Parkway Museums District, the Academy is the oldest natural history museum in the Americas, founded in 1812, and the first place in the world to display a fully mounted dinosaur skeleton, in 1868. Today the museum is a major cultural attraction featuring Dinosaur Hall with T. rex, Outside In with live animals, historic dioramas with plants and animals in realistic habitats around the world, galleries that delve into timely climate change and environmental issues, and a variety of on-site and virtual programming.
In the months ahead, new exhibitions will fill the galleries with exciting opportunities and engaging programs. Here’s the schedule of temporary exhibits for 2022. For updates and more information, visit ansp.org.
Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs
Step back 290 million years to when bizarre-looking creatures dominated life on land and sea, and dinosaurs had not yet evolved. Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs blends vivid artwork, amazing fossils and scientifically accurate models of moving beasts to recreate this relatively unknown period when the greatest mass extinction wiped out creatures that will never be discovered. Explore odd-looking sharks, strange reptiles with mammal-like characteristics, the vicious giant saber-toothed gorgonopsid, and more.
Pteropods, affectionately known as “potato chips of the sea,” are tiny ocean snails that help form the base of the ocean food web. Their thin, fragile shells are sensitive to changes in ocean chemistry. Sea Change centers around the research of former Academy scientist Rosie Oakes, PhD, who studies the effects of climate change on pteropods, monitoring their shells to measure the effects of ocean acidification on ocean life. The exhibit includes stunning photography, wall projections with hypnotic undersea footage, video interviews with scientists, and a video slideshow on ocean acidification.
November 13, 2021 through Sunday, May 1, 2022
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 of 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; holographic light field display scanning electron microscope images of diatoms; 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
April 2 through 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 as well as shipwrecks including 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 support 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.
August 20, 2022 through January 15, 2023
Dive into an underwater adventure, explore the watershed connection and discover the majesty of the ocean in Ocean Bound. Through dozens of eye-popping aquatic species and ecosystems, high-definition video and hands-on activities, visitors can explore the ocean's vast diversity and see how everyone’s actions on land affect the ocean, however far away. Be a biologist like those at the Academy of Natural Sciences and discover fun facts about aquatic animals and their environments. Make it rain in a 3-D watershed model, maneuver cranks to divert pollutants as they travel through stormwater drains, and pilot a submersible from a mountain stream to the ocean, exploring interesting species and habitats along the way. Learn how our actions can benefit animals and ecosystems and be a part of a long-term solution to protecting vital watershed resources.