Academy Archives

 Academy Constitution

Dateline from the Academy's handwritten Constitutional Act of 1812 in which the founders express the purpose of their new institution, "namely, Science exclusively, useful Science, Physics, the science of Facts, dispassionately demonstrable knowledge and no other" [ANSP Archives Collection 527]


The Academy Archives, a collection of one-of-a-kind documents, tells the story of the Academy from its founding in March 1812 through its nearly two centuries of existence: a story written originally by quill pen and now in bytes and bits.

The Archives contain a vast array of unique manuscripts, art, artifacts, film, photos, field notes, illustrations, and memorabilia. They reflect the Academy’s long tenure as one of the finest natural history museums in the world, and certainly the oldest in the Americas. The collection is comprised not only of administrative records and official Academy documents, but also an abundance of scientific and personal unpublished materials contributed by research scientists and others associated with the Academy.

Color Our Collections

Click here to download a PDF coloring book made of images from the Academy's Library and Archives. 

Finding Aids & Guides

The Academy Archives can be searched along with other Drexel collection online:

Older versions of the collections guides and finding aids can be found here:


The Academy Archives welcomes researchers on-site and also offers consultation to those unable to visit in person. In order to best serve you, appointments are required. This allows us to prepare collections for your visit. Appointments are available weekdays from 10am-4pm. 

Contact Us

To request an appointment, contact the archives: