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On January 25, 1812, six gentlemen gathered on the second floor of an apothecary shop on the northeast corner of Market and Second streets in Philadelphia. The group, which included two doctors, a dentist, an apothecary, a manufacturing chemist, and a distiller, was committed to creating a society for the cultivation of the natural sciences.

On March 21, the group discussed and agreed upon a constitutional act which established the Academy of Natural Sciences. The men decided that their friend Thomas Say, a gifted naturalist, should be recognized as one of the society's founders. Say’s work was critical to the success and growth of the Academy during its first years.

Today the Academy leads the world in biodiversity and environmental research from our permanent home on historic Logan Square. Stop in to see incredible dinosaur bones, get up close with live animals, and marvel at our amazing exhibits!

200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 1: “Academy Beginnings ”

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photo of an early 19th century building in Philadelphia
The apothecary shop at Market and Second Street where the founders held their first meeting

Academy Beginnings

On January 25, 1812, six gentlemen gathered on the second floor of an apothecary shop on the northeast corner of Market and Second streets in Philadelphia. The group, which included two doctors, a dentist, an apothecary, a manufacturing chemist, and a distiller, was committed to creating a society for the cultivation of the natural sciences.

On March 21, the group discussed and agreed upon a constitutional act which established the Academy of Natural Sciences. The men decided that their friend Thomas Say, a gifted naturalist, should be recognized as one of the society's founders. Say’s work was critical to the success and growth of the Academy during its first years.

Today the Academy leads the world in biodiversity and environmental research from our permanent home on historic Logan Square. Stop in to see incredible dinosaur bones, get up close with live animals, and marvel at our amazing exhibits!