The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the nation's oldest natural history museum, and this month marks its 200th anniversary.
On March 21, 1812, John Speakman, Jacob Gilliams, and others met to form an "academy" for the study of natural history, and "for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning." Its original headquarters was 121 N. Second St.
About three years later, the academy moved to larger quarters on Arch Street, between Front Street and Second. It officially opened its museum to the public in 1828, and by then had relocated again to larger facilities at George (now Sansom) and 12th Streets. Among its many collections were specimens of flora and fauna that were retrieved worldwide by local explorers. In 1868, its museum was the first to display a fully articulated dinosaur.