Members’ Night Revealed

Membership Coordinator Sarah Deike has been working hard. She’s preparing for our September 30 Members’ Night, which despite being among the highlights of an Academy year is also one of the most labor intensive for staff. At Members’ Night, our researchers, scientists, and educators welcome members behind the scenes for exciting activities that showcase what the Academy’s experts do every day!

One of Sarah’s responsibilities is to organize all Academy staff members who are creating activities for Members’ Night. Organizing a behind-the-scenes event in a museum with real, working scientists involves a lot of back and forth, as many of our scientists spend their summers doing research in the field. But that’s why the event is so much fun for members. Rarely do we have the chance to talk directly with scientists and see their amazing experiments and finds from the field in person.

“I think the coolest thing about Members’ Night is seeing how happy and surprised all the members are, especially first-time members, because they don’t usually have the chance to see all the collections and the research that’s going on behind the scenes,” Sarah says. “To be able to do some of the things scientists do every day–hands-on–is really cool for kids and adults too.”Freshwater experiments

After staff submit their activities, Sarah works together with Events Manager Erica Land and Director of Membership Lindsay Fiesthumel to organize event locations and activities so that everything runs smoothly on the night of the event. Below, Sarah, Erica, and Lindsay share a few of the upcoming highlights:

Dino Discoveries in the Bighorn Basin: Find out what we dug up in Montana and Wyoming this summer. Help our fossil prep staff to clean fossils from this past season!

Human Board Game: You are the game piece as you roll the dice and answer questions about climate change to move around a human-sized game board.

Educator with Owl

A Peek Into the Mineral Vault: Take a look at beautiful and rare mineral specimens from the Vaux Collection.

Butterfly Shipment Surprises: What hatches out of our butterfly chrysalis isn’t always a butterfly! We’ll have specimens and video of some of the most fascinating parasites we’ve encountered over the years in our butterfly shipments.


Chemistry experimentFun Chemistry Experiments: Make invisible ink, discover the earth with liquid densities of juice and cake coring, learn about tools of the trade, and watch an acetone experiment.

Bird Specimen Preparation: See how our ornithologists prepare bird specimens and collect valuable biodiversity data for the museum’s scientific collections.Shell hunt in lab

Mollusk Dissections and Anatomy Sketches: We’ll be dissecting Channeled Whelk Snails
from New Jersey and showing you the details up close.

Amazing Rainbow Algae: Did you know that algae is used in ice cream and candy? Try your hand at experimenting with algae extracts and watch them create colorful rainbows.Botany experiment with color

This is only a sampling of the many activities that will be happening at Members’ Night. If you’re an Academy member, you get to enjoy them all for free. Just register here by September 22.

If you’re not a member, it’s not too late to become a part of the celebration and get free general admission to the museum all year long. Here’s how:

Join online at

Ask at the Front Desk during your next visit.

Call us at 215-299-1022.


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