Wagner Free Institute of Science

1/2: The Wagner Free Institute of Science.
2/2: Bird case in the Wagner’s exhibition hall. Photo by David Graham.

The Wagner Free Institute of Science, the creation of Philadelphia merchant, philanthropist, and gentleman scientist William Wagner (1796–1885), is a natural history museum that provides free public education in science. Wagner began offering free lectures on science at his home in the 1850s. Today the Wagner continues to offer free science education in a National Historic Landmark building that houses an extraordinary collection of natural history specimens including mounted birds and mammals, fossils, insects, dinosaur bones, and the first American saber-toothed tiger specimen.

In recent years, the Center has supported the Wagner’s ambitions to develop new strategic alliances with partnering institutions and to respond to increased visitation and interest from younger audiences. With a 2013 Center grant, the Wagner will pilot new interpretive approaches, with and for young adult audiences. The project will build connections between 19th-century natural history collections and contemporary issues, including climate change, human evolution, and the rapid extinction rate of many species.

References

Grants & Grantees

This large-scale performance, inspired and informed by the immigration process, will premiere in June 2015. The second performance will be simulcast live for a public audience at Independence Mall.

In 2011, the award-winning writer, director, and actor became the Center’s first visiting artist. His residency functioned as a creative exchange between a working artist and the Center’s staff, constituents, and communities.

Grants & Grantees

Roko Kawai and a team of collaborators traveled to Japan to develop the dance/sound piece Izu House.

Grants & Grantees

Historic Germantown presented a series of history-based projects that combined perspectives on work and industry in the area with programs for young people.

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University explored the potential of public performance to engage the community in a dialogue around disability issues.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Sarah Lutman has worked in the arts and nonprofit sector for the past 35 years, and she is currently an independent consultant and entrepreneur.

Grants & Grantees

Pig Iron is a company specializing in exuberant ensemble-devised works. The organization has begun to train the next generation of daring physical theater artists through the Pig Iron School of Advanced Performing Training.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Bonnie Clearwater is director and chief curator at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, where she leads the development of exhibition programs and the expansion of education initiatives and public programming.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Saxophonist, arranger, and composer Tim Ries has worked with many greats, including Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Maynard Ferguson, and Paul Simon.

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts recently announced plans for the Philadelphia Freedom Festival to honor early, Philadelphia-based civil rights activist, Octavius Catto.

The Pursuit: 50 Years in the Fight for LGBT Rights, a new documentary by Emmy award-winning director and producer Ilana Trachtman, will premiere June 23 at 9 p.m. on WHYY-TV.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Rose Sherman joined the Minnesota Historical Society in 1999 as director of enterprise technology.