Welcome to the APS Museum’s online collection database, made possible by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. While this database is a comprehensive catalog of most of the objects at the APS Museum, it does not include all of the objects that are in the collection. Information in this database reflects research in progress, and is subject to change in accordance with ongoing study. Please check back for additional objects and information.
• To view all objects, type “American Philosophical Society” into the keyword search.
• To view the Lewis and Clark Herbarium sheets, type “PH-LC*” into the keyword search.
• To search other objects, use specific keywords, for example:
Franklin to look for objects associated with Benjamin Franklin
Painting to view paintings
Model to view models of invention
Medal* to view medals and medallions
“scientific instrument”to view scientific instruments
Once you have conducted your search:
• Click on the object number to view detailed catalog information
• Click on the object photo to get a larger view of all images associated with the object
The APS Museum is responsible for the American Philosophical Society’s collection of fine art, furniture, and objects; the APS Library holds the collection of manuscripts and photographs, and is a nationally recognized center for research in the history of the sciences, medicine, technology, and Early America. For more information on library collection, please click here.
The APS Museum welcomes researchers interested in the collection. To inquire, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
APS Botanical Specimens
There are over 2,250 herbarium sheets in the APS Museum Collection, all of which are currently on long-term deposit at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia (ANSP).
Lewis and Clark
In 1805 and 1806, Thomas Jefferson gave the American Philosophical Society herbarium sheets collected by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their 1804-1806 expedition. All of the APS-owned Lewis and Clark herbariums sheets are on this database. In 2002, the ANSP published a comprehensive taxonomic discussion and digital imagery set of the combined collection of Lewis and Clark herbarium sheets. Descriptions in the APS database are from that study set:
Spamer, Earle E., and Richard M. McCourt. The Lewis and Clark Herbarium, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (PH-LC): Digital imagery study set. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Special Publication 19, 2002.
Benjamin Smith Barton
In addition to the 185 Lewis and Clark herbarium sheets, the APS also owns the Benjamin Smith Barton herbarium collection (2,000+ sheets) also on long-term deposit at ANSP. These sheets are not currently available on the online database, but will be made available after the collection is photographed.
To learn more about these collections, we encourage you to visit the ANSP website at: http://www.ansp.org/research/biodiv/botany/index.php
A Catalogue of Portraits and Other Works of Art in the Possession of the American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1961.
Robert P. Multhauf. A Catalogue of Instruments and Models in the Possession of the American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1961.
Murphy D. Smith. A Museum: The History of the Cabinet of Curiosities of the American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1996.
Murphy D. Smith and David Borodin. Due Reverence: Antiques in the Possession of the American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1992.