The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the oldest natural history museum in North America. Founded in 1812, the museum is known for both its collections of natural specimens and its active research faculty. It has been affiliated with Drexel University since 2011. The Academy’s collections contain more than 18 million specimens and archival materials, many of which predate the institution’s founding and reflect the work of famous naturalists and scientists, including Thomas Jefferson, John James Audubon, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark.
A new exhibition revisits the 200-plus carefully preserved North American plant specimens collected during the 1804–06 Lewis and Clark expedition. Designed in collaboration with Indigenous community advisors, the project counters narratives of colonial “discovery” and offers historical and contemporary perspectives on Indigenous culture and botanical scientific contributions. A film and interactive digital displays accompany the exhibition's exploration of heritage plant cultivation, biodiversity, and environmental justice.
The total grant amount represents project funding plus an additional 20% in unrestricted general operating support.