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American Philosophic Society Museum (Philadelphia, PA)

  • American Philosophical Society Museum, Philosophical Hall (adjacent to Independence Hall) 104 South Fifth Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA (map)

Silhouettes By Hand present a lecture program with silhouette portraits afterwards at the American Philosophic Society Museum in Philadelphia, PA.

The theme will be the famous Peale family, and their connection to the popular pre-photographic portrait form. This program is connected to the exhibit Curious Revolutionaries: The Peales of Philadelphia (

Event information and link for tickets are here

The Peales were an extraordinary early American family, curious in every sense of the word. They were patriots, soldiers, politicians, inventors, explorers, naturalists, entrepreneurs, and world-class, ever busy tinkerers. Above all, the Peales embraced the Enlightenment ideal to expand man’s universal knowledge while improving life on earth.

Charles Willson and his brother James began as portrait-painters and miniaturists on the eve of the Revolution. In 1786, Charles Willson Peale converted his portrait studio into the nation’s first successful public museum, housed in the American Philosophical Society from 1794 to 1810. By educating the American public and increasing man’s understanding of the natural world, Charles Willson Peale believed his museum would cultivate a more enlightened citizenry and advance America’s prestige around the world. The second and third generations of aptly named Peales—most notably Rembrandt, Rubens, Benjamin Franklin, and Titian Ramsay—continued the family business as significant artists, naturalists, and inventors.

On view April to December, 2017, Curious Revolutionaries reveals the Peale family’s role in shaping early American public culture through innovations in art, science, and technology. Through their quest for personal prestige, as well as their commitment to advancing the new American republic, the Peales became influential members of Philadelphia’s artistic, intellectual, and political communities.