200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 46: “When the Academy was founded in 1812… ”

« Three Heavy Fish

Deadly Snails »

map of the North America in 1812
Map of North America from the 1818 American edition of Pinkerton’s Modern Atlas

When the Academy was founded in 1812…

The Academy of Natural Sciences was founded in 1812. At the time, Philadelphia had a population of about 60,000, a tiny number compared to our current population of 1.5 million. Philadelphia was a cosmopolitan, egalitarian, and democratic city on the brink of all kinds of discovery. Known as the “Athens of America,” it was a center for artists and scientists alike.

Louisiana had become the eighteenth state of the country, which was being led by President James Madison. Future author of On the Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin, was toddling around his parents' garden in England, while former President Thomas Jefferson was discussing his belief that mastodons were roaming the western plains of the country. The United States declared war on Great Britain, a war which lasted more than two years and would go down in history as the War of 1812.

In the 200 years since the Academy's founding, we've come a long way! Visit ansp.org to learn about our research in biodiversity and environmental science, and stop by the museum to see our Live Animal Center, Butterflies!, and more!

Plan your visit, check out our new exhibits, and find out about upcoming activities.
Discover the past and explore the future of the natural sciences in our online exhibits.
Make a difference, browse our programs, and get involved with the natural world.