Our museum and library is closed today in celebration of Juneteenth.

Sketching Splendor, an exhibition at the American Philosophical Society Museum, explores the work of William Bartram, Titian Ramsay Peale, and John James Audubon, three American naturalists who sought to illuminate nature’s complexity. Yet even as naturalists experimented with new scientific ideas and innovations, the history of natural history in the United States was complex, allied to forces of imperialism and enslavement. Moreover, while we remember the names of elite scientists like Bartram, Peale, and Audubon, there were many Native Americans, people of African descent both enslaved and free, and women whose names are less known, and who also contributed to early American science. In this talk the exhibition’s curator, Anna Majeski, will focus on some of their stories as highlighted in Sketching Splendor.

About the Speaker

Anna Majeski.

Anna Majeski is exhibitions researcher and content creator at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum. She received her doctorate at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where she completed a dissertation on early Renaissance astrological imagery. At the American Philosophical Society, her work has focused on intersections between art and science in the arena of American natural history. She is currently researching a new exhibition on Philadelphia during the period of the Revolutionary War.

About the Series

Science on Tap is a monthly speaker series that features brief, informal presentations by Philadelphia-based scientists and other experts followed by lively conversation and a Q&A. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited, and accessible way, while also meeting new people. Come join the conversation!


Header image: “Missouri bear, Ursus horribilis Ord” by Titian Ramsay Peale, 1822. American Philosophical Society Collections.

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