Object Explorer

J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The centerpiece of our museum is a multimedia experience showcasing our collection of art, scientific instruments, rare books, and more.

Object Explorer Testing 5

Explore the history and science behind everyday objects.

The installation includes a two-story-high video column and the Object Explorer, a pair of high-resolution, interactive tables where visitors can explore the history and science behind various everyday objects.

The Object Explorer consists of two touch tables and a dozen everyday objects, such as a flip-flop, an ice-cube tray, a soda bottle, and an LED lightbulb. Each object represents a characteristic of contemporary life or a category of materials, such as synthetics, refrigerants, disposables, and artificial illumination. Place an object on an interactive table and investigate the object’s history and the stories of the incredible, sometimes miraculous, other times quite dangerous materials it is made of.

Be sure to pause before the vertical column and enjoy a video starring images from the Science History Institute’s collection of objects, manuscripts, rare library books, art, and archives. Many of the items featured on the column are not on display in the galleries.

Admission is free. Get hours, directions, and information to plan your visit.