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The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University Welcomes Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity

Newest exhibit explores the diversity of skin throughout the natural world, inviting important conversations and showcasing dozens of specimens from world-class research collections

June 13, 2023

June 13, 2023 – (Philadelphia)The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (the Academy) today announced a new traveling exhibition opening this summer called Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity. Skin will feature dozens of scientific specimens that will encourage visitors to explore the fascinating roles that feathers, furs, scutes, scales, hides and hairs play for different organisms across the globe.

The exhibition will investigate the layers of meaning associated with skin throughout human history and its influence on the shifting ideas of race and culture in our modern world. Visitors also will learn how evolution has shaped our own skin’s sensitivity and diversity — and how much scientists have yet to uncover about its underlying genetics.

“This visually bold exhibit truly delves into the remarkable biodiversity of the natural world,” said Scott Cooper, president and CEO of the Academy, “as well as the often deep and complex nature of human relationships, in such a fresh, innovative and creative way.”

Aimed to inspire curiosity and spark dialogue about skin’s role in shaping human relationships, Skin will be onsite at the Academy from June 24, 2023 through January 21, 2024. Created by the California Academy of Sciences and modified for tour by the Science Museum of Minnesota, this hands-on, multi-sensory exhibition will be offered in both English and Spanish.

Engaging hands-on programming focused on animal skin, as well as special programming, will also be held throughout the exhibition.

  • Curator Conversation – Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity
  • Animal Armor: Reptile Encounters, featuring live snakes, turtles and lizards, will be held on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. for families to meet the Academy’s slithery and scaly animal ambassadors.

Skin follows the recent opening of Illuminating Birds: Drawing as a Way of Knowing, a gallery and creative studio exhibition open at the Academy now through October 15. Throughout 2023, the Academy is celebrating Biodiversity Year, continuing its innovative research and community engagement to support the diverse tapestry of life found on Earth.

The exhibition is generously supported by Susan and Nicholas Pritzker and Family. Skin is free with general admission ticket purchase. For more information about Skin and special exhibit happenings, please visit

***Media are invited to preview Skin on Thursday, June 22 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. for photos and video, or 6 – 8 p.m. during the Academy’s special member preview. Please RSVP to to attend or to schedule interviews.***

About the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University:

Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University — located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19103 — is a leading natural history museum dedicated to understanding the natural world and inspiring everyone to care for it. The Academy is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For admission, please visit or call 215-299-1000 for more information.

Follow the Academy on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Media Contacts:

Kaitlyn Haney, Signature 57
On behalf of the Academy

Sinead Murray, Signature 57
On behalf of the Academy