The Wagner

There are plenty of gemstones to discover at the Wagner.

The Wagner Institute of Science, still free.

Upon our visit to the Wagner Free Institute of Science at 1700 Montgomery Street in Philadelphia, I noticed not much had changed since the l had been there before about 2 years ago.

Of course, not much has effectively changed at the Wagner since it’s glory days in the late 1800’s. It seems like time stands still there. Maybe the opening one of the wooden draws wiggles an object slightly out of place in a display case, or a small taxidermy mammal seems to come to life for a moment from the vibration of the people walking around on the creaky wooden floor, but these are the only motions that seem to reflect signs of life from this bygone era.

Us thrill seekers, however, brought the party as we oozed through the museum, glued to the visual specimens of possibly now-extinct animal taxidermies and oddities throughout.

One thing I know about the Wagner is that not on my second trip, or do I believe by my 10th trip to the Wagner, will I ever be able to take it all in one trip there. It’s collection is comprised of a dizzying amount of natural specimens displayed in an organized fashion, also labeled in latin, neatly and painstakingly to ensure no confusion between words like “Flourite” and “Flourine”. These subtleties may been innocuous to the public masses that flooded the museum at the turn of the century, many of whom were mostly illiterate, but I am sure that any Geologist of any era would have found/find days of indulgence pouring over the multitude of cases which hold stone and gem specimines.

As for myself, I guess I will have to return to the Wagner someday soon. I have absolutely no excuses, and much more absorbing to do. The Wagner remains a free natural science museum, though sources of funding are in a constant state of uncertainty. Perpetuated mostly by private grant, the future of the Wagner seems hazy.

With it’s current new status as a National Treasure, it is hoped that new intrest will be sparked among the changing community landscape. It wouldn’t be surprising, considering the recent spike of popularity of all things having to do with early United Stated history. It’s everywhere, from the new beard fad to the period shows like “Taboo”, it is clear that the return our early American roots is becoming a sensation these days.

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