Many visitors come to Philadelphia to learn about American history and make a compulsory stop to see the Liberty Bell.
However, what is relatively unknown to most of them is that there is a great chemical technology library, museum and a center for scholars less than three blocks away called the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
There are different kinds of technologies but there is a significant amount of history involved in development of the technologies. Unfortunately, most of it is not captured very well. However, there is Chemical Heritage Foundation, headed by Dr. Thomas Tritton, which is doing a fantastic job in education of chemists, display of instrumentation, and a great archival resource for scientists. They have educational resources for chemists as well as historians and superb collections of instrumentations that are unique. They host multiple meetings to encourage scientists but also serve as a great location for any scientific meetings.
What is not known much is their rare book collection. Dr. Ron Brashear, Arnold Thackeray Director of the Othmer Library has been managing a superb collection of rare books that are as useful to scientists as they are to collectors. For scientists, they provide perspectives into science that were not known before. While there, do make it a point to see “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica” by Isaac Newton that changed the course of history.
Also, some of the collections of early Gutenberg publishing day’s books are a treat and the illustrations are remarkable.
For example, this drawing is one of a series that shows the start of civilization.
And here is a journal of University of Bombay journal from the early 20th century before the world war’s that can still be seen in the collection.
Chemical Heritage Foundation is not just a repository. They recently hosted the American Chemical Society’s Entrepreneurship series on March 27-28, 2013, attended by Dr. Anil Tarachandani of Usin’Life that highlighted their role in bringing innovation to the market.
When you are at Philadelphia next, visit the Chemical Heritage Foundation and learn something new!