Academy of Natural Sciences Kicks Off 200 Day Countdown to Bicentennial

Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences kicks off its 200-day countdown to a big bicentennial celebration on Saturday, September 3, 2011.

For you, it means you’ll get treated to a different story about the Academy every day on their website.

“We can’t wait to share our exciting stories – past, present and future – with everyone,” said Academy President and CEO George W. Gephardt, Jr.

The stories – some of which are well-known, but most of which are little-known – will reveal some of the  fascinating tidbits about the institution, its history, its key leaders and its scientific contributions.

At the end of the 200 day countdown, on March 21, 2012, the Academy will then launch a year-long bicentennial celebration of the nation’s oldest natural history museum.

“I think the highlight will be to get people in this city, region and really the nation, to come to the Academy either of the first time or to come back to the Academy and to leave saying, 'I had no idea they do what they do,' ” Gephardt said.

Here are some of the key events you can look forward to during 2012:

  • The Academy at 200: The Nature of Discovery, March 24 to March 2013 Building on the Academy’s extraordinary collections and 200 years of scientific exploration, this major exhibit celebrates the museum’s groundbreaking discoveries and provides a glimpse into the future of one of the world’s great natural history museums. Visitors will “journey” alongside Academy scientists in search of new species, see rarely displayed Academy treasures, and explore how people impact the environment.
  • Bicentennial Weekend, March 24 and 25
    The bicentennial year officially begins with the opening of a yearlong exhibit about the Academy, plus special appearances, fun hands-on activities, music, games, crafts, and, of course, birthday cake.
  • SCVNGR Trek in March
    A special bicentennial trek using smart phone technology will launch.
  • Center for Environmental Policy Town Square Series, April 2012 through June 2013
    The Academy will host panel discussions and presentations by globally prominent speakers on critical issues of sustainability and the environment.
  • Academy Travels Afield, May through November 2012
    A six-month exhibit at Philadelphia International Airport (between Terminals C and D, ticketed passengers) will highlight the global research of Academy scientists and the Academy’s collection of 17 million animal and plant specimens.
  • Bicentennial Scientific Symposium, October 11 and 12
    Scientists from around the nation will gather to discuss “Biological Diversity: From Evolutionary Origins to Ecosystem Functionality.”  The symposium will have a component for the general public as well.
  • Cuisine from the Collections in October
    Noted area chefs will prepare a fun and funky dinner featuring a menu based on the wide range of species in Academy collections including birds, insects and shellfish.
  • Women in Natural Sciences 30th Anniversary in November
    A celebration will mark the 30th anniversary of WINS, the Academy’s highly successful competitive science-education, life-skills mentoring program for Philadelphia public high school girls.
  • Bicentennial Gala March 2013
    The celebration comes to a close with a black-tie party celebrating the Academy’s future while honoring the significance of its past.
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