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News & Events

Watch past programs on the Wagner's YouTube channel here.

-- Upcoming Events--

Check back in the fall for more programs at the Wagner!

-- Past Events--

*Weeknights at the Wagner and Annual Member Reception*

Philadelphia's Built Environment: From HABS to the Hidden City

with Joseph Elliott, Photographer of historic infrastructure, industry and architecture

Please join us for our 1st in-person Weeknights lecture since 2019! Our speaker, Joseph Elliott was commissioned in 2002 by the Historic American Buildings Survey to photograph sites in North Philadelphia that had great architectural and cultural significance, including the Wagner, Girard College, and the Divine Lorraine Hotel. Sine then, Elliott has continued to document the rich historic fabric of the city with HABS and other projects at sites around the city. He also produced the book Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City, which explores thirty fascinating interiors, from the Wanamaker Organ to the John Grass Woodturning Shop. In this talk, Elliott will share his work and stories from these projects as he discusses his development as photographer and explorer of the city.

This lecture will be directly followed by our Annual Member Reception in the Exhibit Hall, starting at 7:30pm. The Reception is free for active members and $15 for guests.

Please RSVP at the link above for the lecture and/or reception.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022 6:00 - 8:30 PM at the Wagner

Science on Tap: ACT on Air: Addressing Philly's Air Quality & Environmental Injustice

This month, Science On Tap Philadelphia welcomes Dr. Christina Rosan, Associate Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple Universityto discuss a collaborative project called ACT on Air (Accessible Community Technology on Air) which partners with universities, citizens, schools, and non-profits across the city to install low-cost Purple Air monitors in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The project is part of a larger initiative to help citizens and City officials monitor environmental justice and use climate investments to address community need. Join us for a discussion on environmental justice in the city and to learn about how you can ACT on Air.

Monday, May 9, 2022 6:00 - 7:00 PM (Zoom).

FIRST SATURDAYS: May Open House and 'Cells at Work' Play

Come and learn all about the human body in a fan-written play based on the popular manga and anime series "Cells at Work". During the performance, you'll learn all about the jobs performed by the white and red blood cells in your body through humor, action, and drama. This short play (approximately half an hour) is appropriate for all ages and educational in nature. As always, the Wagner's Exhibit Hall will be open all afternoon for self-guided exploration of the 100,000 natural history specimens on display.  Explore on your own or use one of our themed scavenger hunts to guide you. Our Human Body or Pathogens themed hunts are a perfect activity to keep with this biology themed day! Make sure to step outside while your here and enjoy the May sunshine in our teaching garden with outdoor scavenger hunts and rock and tree ID activities.

Saturday, May 7th, 2022 12:00 - 4:00 PM

National Landmarks Lecture: An Elevated Conversation

Join us for a conversation with Kathy Haas, Director of Historical Resources at Girard College, Susan Glassman, Director of the Wagner, and Erica Harman, Archivist at Eastern State Penitentiary. This online talk will dig into the archives and discuss the historical links between these Philadelphia landmark institutions, all located within a mile and a half of each other, and their long-time presence in the landscape of North Philadelphia.  All three sites are now National Historic Landmarks, recognized for the architecture of their buildings and their educational missions.  In conjunction with Global Philadelphia's International Day for Monuments & Sites.

Monday April 18th, 2022 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (Zoom).

International Day for Monuments & Sites Open House

On Monday, April 18, many of Philadelphia's historic landmarks will offer tours, virtual talks, special activities and prizes as part of an annual celebration organized by the Global Philadelphia Association. Join us for a special Monday Open House when you can explore our historic museum collections, including minerals, fossils, shells, insects, taxidermy birds and mammals. You can also learn about the construction of our National Landmark Building, through an exhibit illustrated by photographs and materials from the archives.

Monday April 18th, 2022 12:00 - 4:00 PM

FIRST SATURDAYS: Magma and Minerals

Learn all about geology & mineralogy at the Wagner! At this April Open House, visitors can attend a geological lesson on magma and minerals in our historic lecture hall, and watch a demonstration of how bismuth recrystallizes after being melted! You can also check out other fun, hands-on geology activities in the teaching garden and Exhibit Hall, appropriate for all ages. As always, the Wagner 's Exhibit Hall will be open from 12-4 PM for self-guided exploration of the 100,000 natural history specimens on display. Don't forget to stop by our gift shop and pick up your very own geode to crack open or crystals amd minerals to add to your collection!

Saturday, April 2nd, 2022 12:00 - 4:00 PM


Explore the Wagner's collections and its National Landmark building during our March Open House! The Exhibit Hall will be open for self-guided exploration of the natural history collection throughout the day. At 2 PM, Special Collections Librarian Lynn Dorwaldt will showcase a selection of Wagner’s lantern slides from our extensive collection. The slides were used to accompany courses and public lectures from the 1860s through the 1950s. Experience the magic of these luminous images when projected in Wagner’s historic 19th century Lecture Hall!

Saturday, March 5th, 2022 12:00 - 4:00 PM

Architecture Walking Tour of the Wagner

Join the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia in exploring the Wagner’s remarkably preserved Victorian interiors and learn about its purpose and history.  The tour will be lead by the Wagner's Executive Director, Susan Glassman, and will include an illustrated introduction in the lecture hall followed by a look at the museum’s first gallery, areas not regularly accessible to museum visitors. Tickets are $25; $20 for Preservation Alliance members.

Saturday, February 12th, 2022 2:00 - 4:00 PM

FIRST SATURDAYS: Blossoming Botany

The theme for our February Open House is all about botany! A lesson on botanical illustration (appropriate for all ages) will be offered in our historic lecture hall, and our Exhibition Hall will highlight historical botanists such as Dr. Marie Taylor, and have special plant-themed activities for our younger visitors! Weather permitting, the teaching garden will be open for a Bark & Buds tree ID activity. Plus, pick up a free book from Tree House Books' traveling Bookmobile. In addition to the activities, the Exhibit Hall will be open for self-guided exploration of the natural history collection throughout the day.

Saturday, February 5th, 2022 12:00 - 4:00 PM

*Weeknights at the Wagner*

Reflections on Henry David Thoreau

In Now Comes Good Sailing, a  new volume of essays, twenty-seven leading writers explore how Thoreau has influenced and inspired them and why his work has particular resonance in this time of climate, technological and racial reckoning. Three of the contributors—Gerald Early, James Marcus and Robert Sullivan — will join us for a wide-ranging conversation that looks at Thoreau and his work through different lenses. The conversation will be moderated by the book’s editor Andrew Blauner.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 6:30 - 8:00 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

FIRST SATURDAYS: December Open House

Explore the Wagner's collections and its National Landmark building during our December Open House. The Exhibit Hall will be open for self-guided exploration of the natural history collection throughout the day. Go through at your own pace or follow the path of one of our themed scavenger hunts. You can also pick up pencils and paper to draw from the many specimens on display. If you want to learn more about the museum and how it became a National Historic Landmark, join us in the Lecture Hall at 2PM for an illustrated talk by Susan Glassman, Wagner's Executive Director.

Saturday, December 4th, 2021 12:00 - 4:00 PM

Science on Tap: Regenerative Agriculture at Hundred Fruit Farm

Join permaculture farmer, designer, and educator Adam Dusen as he discusses the science that goes into creating permaculture systems that produce food without sprays of any kind while regenerating the soil and sequestering carbon. Learn how Adam builds biologically healthy and long-lasting agro-ecosystems using the guiding principles of permaculture.

Monday, November 8, 2021 6:00 - 7:00 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

FIRST SATURDAYS : Seeds of Sustainability

Join us for lessons, activities, and demonstrations about sustainable agriculture, native species, harvest, and more! Visitors are welcome to explore the native plants in our teaching garden, learn about diet and how it affects our bones, and taste pawpaw butter made from fruit harvested on the Wagner's grounds! Don't miss community leader and nutrition expert Arnett Woodall's talk on healthy eating and food justice in our Lecture Hall. As always, the Exhibit Hall will also be open for visitors to peruse.

Saturday, November 6, 2021 12:00 - 4:00 PM

Images from the Archive

In celebration of this year's Archives Month Philly and in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Wagner presents an evening of illuminating images from the archives and the stories they bring to light. Presentations include Two Women, One Garden: Selections from the Castaña Portfolio, Old Blockley: A Glimpse Into a Public Hospital at the Turn of the Century, The Poetry and Science of Botanical Instruction at the Wagner Free Institute of Science.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 6:30 - 8PM (Zoom). Recording available.

FIRST SATURDAYS: Knowing Art Through Nature

At this free family open house, learn about the Delaware River and the North American birds it supports. The event will feature a special project by Phildelphia artist Susan Hagen in collaboration with poets Nathalie Anderson, and Lisa Sewell. The museum exhibit hall will be open for exploration and special activities will include artist talks, drawing and poetry workshops led by our special guests. Actvities are appropiate for people of all ages.

Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 12 - 4 PM

*Weeknights at the Wagner*

Sustainable Environmental Adaptations Among the Ancient Maya of Central America

with Dr. Stanley Walling, Community College of Philadelphia & Center for Archaeological and Tropical Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Maya Archaeologist, Dr. Stanley Walling recounts his voyage of discovery regarding the complexity of everyday life among the ancient Maya and the sustainable ways they transformed their tropical forest environment. In particular, he will focus on how the humblest among them, primarily farmers, modified landscape and ancient natural water systems with previously unappreciated levels of sophistication that permitted this civilization to thrive for centuries.

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021 6:30-8 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

*Weeknights at the Wagner*

Whale Seismology!

with Dr. William Wilcock, University of Washington

Large Whales are amongst the most captivating animals on Earth, but they are challenging to study because they are too big to hold in tanks, they spend most of their time underwater, and individuals can range over thousands of miles. In his talk, Dr. Wilcock will describe the origins of his own interest in whale seismology and discuss ongoing efforts to exploit extensive seismic data sets in the northeast Pacific and elsewhere for whale seismology.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 6:30-8 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

*Weeknights at the Wagner*

Confronting Coastal Risk in an Age of Rising Sea Levels

with Dr. Robert Kopp, Rutgers University

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 6:30 - 7:45 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

*Weeknights at the Wagner*

Seeking Health at the Seashore

with Dr. Meggie Crnic, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 6:30 - 7:45 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

2020 Virtual Lantern Slide Salon

Highlighting digitized collections from the Library Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Swarthmore College Peace Collection, and Wagner Free Institute of Science.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 6:30 - 7:45 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

*Weeknights at the Wagner*

Battling the Giant African Snail in Miami
with Dr. David Robinson, USDA APHIS

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 6:30 - 7:45 PM (Zoom)

Concurrent Streams

For the Delaware River Festival, scientists and educators from the Wagner Free Institute of Science will be livestreaming and celebrating rivers from all over the city! Including: Cobbs Creek, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, St. Joseph's University, and more! Come engage with us and learn all about the biodiversity of rivers and the impacts humans can have on it.

Register here for the Zoom link, or watch live on the Delaware River Festival's Facebook Page.

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 2 - 4 PM (Zoom)

*Weeknights at the Wagner*

You Complete Me: A Symbiotic View of Life

with Dr. Scott Gilbert, Swarthmore University

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 6:30 - 7:30 PM (Zoom). Recording available.

Sip and Sketch in the Museum with artist Marguerita Hagan

Dive into the museum's sea life collection for an evening of guided illustration and refreshments, including a themed cocktail.

Tickets required: $25, $15 for members.

Thursday, February 27th, 2020 5:30 - 7:30 PM

Wagner's Winter Wonderland: Snowflakes and Stalactites

At this free family open house, learn the secrets and science of snowflakes and crystals! Activities include: live demo of molten bismuth turning into rainbow crystals, free mineral necklaces, crystal gem origami, snowflake and crystal scavenger hunts, and looking inside crystals with microscopes!

Saturday, February 8th, 2020 12 - 4 PM