Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science and Art
Located in the scenic Nay Aug Park, the Everhart Museum carries the proud role of being one of the oldest and most comprehensive museums in the state. Founded by Dr. Isaiah Fawkes Everhart, a local physician and veteran, the museum has collected over 20,000 objects over the 20th and 21st century with hopes of challenging and entertaining the public while also integrating natural history, science, and art in people’s lives. Although the museum mostly centered around a bird collection in 1908, visitors to the museum nowadays can expect to discover multifaceted permanent and rotating exhibits focusing on art, ethnography, natural history, and much more. The bird collection houses over 2,300 specimens, while the fine art and folk art introduces visitors to thousands of works from nearly every time period around the world.
Backstory and Context
History of Everhart Museum
During the first few decades of the 20th century, many regions across the United States were undergoing a museum movement. Dr. Isaiah Fawkes Everhart, who upheld a great interest in natural history, saw a void in Northern Pennsylvania museum culture, as there were only eight museums in the entire Commonwealth at the time.
With his private natural history collection, Everhart founded the museum in 1908. At first, the museum was based around Pennsylvanian birds and wildlife, and he would often conduct expeditions to increase the museum’s holdings. By the 1940s, the museum acquired a significant donation of American folk art to complement Everhart’s growing collection of Japanese and Oceanic art.
Collecting contributed throughout the rest of the century, and the museum now boasts 15 gallery areas for its permanent and rotating exhibitions.1
Permanent Collection and Rotating Exhibits
Although the collection of American and European paintings holds significant acclaim for the museum, it is the natural history exhibits that often attract the most enthusiasts to Everhart. In fact, because of Dr. Everhart’s interest in birds, the museum now holds the most extensive collection of birds in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Visitors to the museum can discover nearly 2,300 birds, 50 fish, 400 mammals, 25,000 shells, 2,100 botanical specimens, and much more.2
The rotating exhibits present a nuanced exploration of artistic and natural history, and visitors can always expect to discover something new. Some rotating exhibits that have been featured at Everhart include “Baseball Dreams: They Played the Game,” “Where Will You Travel Next? Destinations in Paintings: The Kasten Collection,” and “NEPA Uncovered: Community Art at the Everhart.”3
When visiting the Everhart Museum, it is important to pay attention to any special events occurring throughout the year. As the museum is funded through community efforts as well as private donors, museum enthusiasts can always attend Everhart’s “Cocktails & Cupcakes” or the “Farm to Table.” Other major events that have occurred in the past include “A Taste of Vodou,” “Destination Eats,” and “StorySlam @ the Everhart.”4