For our second site visit, we went to The Wagner Free Institute of Science. The building itself is a prime example of 19th century architecture, and is located basically on Temple’s campus, although not technically. When walking up to the building, two things caught my attention. Firstly, given how the building has been preserved, it sticks out among the homes and apartments that are all more contemporary. Secondly, I had never heard of the Wagner before and was surprised when I realized how close it was to campus and where I live.
When we went in to the building, I was instantly greeted with a look of 19th century interior design. This continued as we were guided into the auditorium. A big room filled with seats, positioned in a circle around the center. It was not hard to imagine the room filled with people from the 19th century, given that all the seats had been maintained, and the original wood floors would creek with every movement.
After hearing more about the history of the Wagner, we were guided upstairs into the exhibit room. The upstairs exhibit room, was honestly amazing for a number of reasons. First, It gives you a direct look at how the 19th century was exhibited back then. It was a full sensory exhibit. You see how it is uniformly organized, how it feels how the radiant heat, and even how it smells from the old wood. All of these things work in unison to transport back to the 19th century. The second reason why the Wagner was amazing, was because of what was being exhibited. The room was full of cases of natural scientific artifacts that ranged from stones and taxidermied animals. All of the artifacts were accompanied by cards detailing their name. Many of these cards appeared to have been hand written, which was very impressive. My personal favorite of the day was the cases of bugs. Not because I have any particular fondness for bugs, but because the cases were filled, from top to bottom with bugs ranging in sizes, and they were all evenly spaced. The attention to that amount of detail, and for it to still intact truly exciting to see.