Jefferson, Philadelphia, and the Founding of a Nation

“Spectacular and unusual…” Read the Philadelphia Inquirer review here.

April 17 – December 28, 2014
Thursday – Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm
$2 donation appreciated • Please go to our Visit section for directions and more information.

On view: Jefferson’s handwritten draft of the Declaration of Independence


Discover the APS Museum

Discover the rare, the curious, and the authentic. Learn about American history and innovation. Make connections between art and science.

At the APS Museum, you will see exhibitions featuring treasures from the Society’s collections—perhaps Thomas Jefferson’s hand-written draft of the Declaration of Independence, a notebook from Lewis and Clark’s Western exploration, a rare 18th century astronomical clock, or a suite of exquisite botanical drawings by William Bartram.

With each exhibition, you can also enjoy imaginative programs that interpret the historical themes and objects on view and connect them to relevant issues in the world today.

What’s ‘Philosophical’ about the Museum?

In 1743, when Benjamin Franklin and his friends decided to establish the American Philosophical Society (APS), they studied the natural world and called themselves natural philosophers. Now we’d call them scientists. But the word “philosophical” stuck.

For more than 270 years the APS has gathered and preserved a rich collection that traces American history and science from the Founding Fathers to the computer age. It includes scientific specimens and instruments, patent models, portraits, maps, art works, rare books, and over thirteen million manuscripts.

The Museum resides in Philosophical Hall, completed in 1789. Now a National Historic Landmark, it was once home to Charles Willson Peale’s famed natural history and portrait museum–the first successful museum in the nation.
Philosophical Hall (view from the south)             Jefferson_visitors_CROPPED FOR WEB

The APS Museum is located in Philosophical Hall, 104 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. For directions and hours click here.

Learn about our upcoming exhibitions on Thomas Jefferson.

Exhibitions and programs at the APS Museum are supported in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.