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North Philly’s Wagner Institute

March 18, 2009

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Me, Dave and master of the minutae JB Farley (who’s also a contestant to be host of Local 44‘s Quizzo night) went on a fieldtrip to the Wagner Free Institute of Science in North Philly. I’ve wanted to visit forever because one of its founders, Joseph Leidy, the father of paleontology, was a biology professor at Swarthmore College where I currently work. He was also a professor at Penn and the founder of the Academy of Natural Science on the Parkway (the oldest natural science museum in the US).
The place is really a science history museum. Scientists in the 19th century concentrated mainly on classification mainly because there was so many new species to be discovered at the time.

The place really hasn’t changed at all since it was founded in the 1880s.
I spent more time admiring the cases and the architecture itself than the specimens. It’s absolutely beautiful. I checked out photos on this flickr page but didn’t even know it had a great lecture hall, with seats which still have old-fashioned hat holders under each seat. I was able to take one picture of this old projector before I was told that photography wasn’t allowed.

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It’s a gem. Go see it!

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