By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A state historical marker was unveiled today on Market Street in Old City, marking the site where the Academy of Natural Sciences was founded 200 years ago.
George Gephart, the academy’s president and CEO, and Drexel University president John Fry pulled the cover off the marker, sitting on a post on the sidewalk near the corner of Third and Market Streets.
Drexel now owns and operates the Academy (see related story).
Robert Peck, a senior fellow at the academy, says six men who were in their 20s and from a variety of different backgrounds got together in 1812 in the former Mercer’s Cake Shop to launch their endeavor.
“They were just well educated, enthusiastic naturalists who thought that by sharing their specimens, their libraries, their knowledge, and their enthusiasm, they could accomplish much more together as a group,” Peck (below) tells KYW Newsradio.
Peck says the academy moved to its current home on Logan Circle in 1876, and has grown its collection to some 18 million specimens, employing a scientific staff of 150 people.