By Christine Sellers
If you’ve ever visited the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, chances are you’ve heard an interesting story or two.
Like the one about how in the 1930s the imposing moose in North American Hall was fitted with a bigger rack of antlers that didn’t belong to him so he would appear more impressive than his counterparts at New York’s American Museum of Natural History and Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.
And there is the Bengal tiger from India that was being a nuisance by preying on cattle when local authorities decided it had to be removed. Academy officials know that because they have a letter from museum patrons Henry and Ewell Stewart that has been preserved in the archives for more than half a century.
With more than 18 million plant and animal specimens—only a fraction of which are on display—the Academy has plenty of stories to tell. Starting this month, visitors can experience the museum and hear its stories in a brand-new way.
The museum now has an audio tour designed to educate and entertain visitors as they trek from floor to floor—around the globe and through time. The first of its kind for the Academy, the audio tour features short clips that run a minute or so and can be accessed for free in the museum and at https://spts.us/ansp/audio-tour. The tour will be updated with more must-see highlights as the months go on and the museum experience evolves with new features.
Also this month, the Academy began offering self-guided tours with three different itineraries based on how visitors like to use the museum. There’s the tour with 13 stops for families with children, the 60-Minuter with 10 stops, and a longer Science Buff itinerary with 14 stops for those who really like to take it all in.
Academy President and CEO George W. Gephart, Jr. said the audio tour and self-guided tours were developed based on visitor surveys and feedback over the last year.
“We are so excited to roll out these new features that will engage our visitors and make their museum experience more interesting and meaningful,” Gephart said. “There’s a lot to see and do, and we want our guests to come back frequently to get the most out of each visit.”