The Wagner Museum

Michael suggested we vista the Wagner Museum – ostensibly an un-reformed Victorian natural history collection ranging from rocks to man in neat systematic order. How could I resist?

The Wagner Free Insitute of Science - What a warm welcome!

William Wagner 1796-1885 - 90 years! Quite a specimen himself!

Strangely enough there is very little on their website – too far in the future for the Wagner? Only a nice daguerreotype of founder Wagner, the briefest bio in the universe ” William Wagner (1796-1885) was a Philadelphia merchant, philanthropist, and amateur scientist” and the following brief review from 1870 – “The Wagner houses a large nucleus for illustration, and where the student can perfect himself in the studies made readily available by the Institution. The collections are the most extensive in the country, and of a superior order, embracing a serried rank of more than half a million of specimens. Every person interested in the natural sciences could further benefit from the enrichment this rich and beautiful collection of specimens offer.”

Stepping back in time - I forgot my morning coat!

The first floor corridors are lined with original Audobon prints!

The skunk was my favorite, but they wouldn't let me take him home.

And then on the second floor there is row after row of beautiful cabinet work with hand-floated glass and tens of thousands of geological and zoological specimens. Damn I just realized I must have missed the ENTIRE plant kingdom! There’s another trip right there.

Prof. Miller deep in thought.

All of the specimens are exquisitely labelled with fine ink copperplate lettering on aging yellowing paper.

"The Creator has an inordinate fondness for beetles" J.B.S. Haldane and bees

Echidna - I'd never seen a monotreme skeleton before.

Arrrrggghhhh! Barnacles!

The smallest egg in the museum

There's even a nice little section on practical taxonomy - cute, eh?

Some seem to resent the treatment!

Some just loose it completely!!

This last critter reminds me now of the ESP which I visited on my last day. The Eastern States Penitentiary – the first Penitentiary (place of penitence) in North America. More on this incredible archive of suffering in a future post.

One Comment

  1. Gabriel Russo Clothing October 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure. Love the writing and the description of the place.


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