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Charles Willson Peale and the mammoth (or pseudo elephant)

This narrative is based on the rich history of Natural Science where “curiosities” from exotic lands became our modern museums, zoos, and botanical gardens. The museum founded by the artist and curator, Charles Willson Peale is the model for the Natural Philosopher’s large collection.

It includes plants, fossils, minerals, specimens, and even relics of the famed Pseudo-Elephant (the Woolly Mammoth) that so fascinated General Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s debate with European naturalists about American flora and fauna was the subject of Jefferson’s book, "Notes on the State of Virginia"and inspired the Expedition of Discovery by Lewis and Clark.

specimans on display

These enterprises contributed to the birth of paleontology which is another narrative addressed by the Natural Philosopher. Dean and his associate Melinda McCalley, recount the work of early fossil-hunters like Mary Anning. They include the debates over dinosaurs, extinction, and the age of the Earth.

Recently, Chris Lancette of Faces and Places TV caught up with The Natural Philosopher at a Colonial Fair at Banneker Historical Park. Courtesy of Mr. Lancette we have "Colonial Market Fair 2017: A Curiosities' Collector's Tale" from YouTube linked below.

Performance roles include other prominent naturalists such as the adventurer, Joseph Banks, who accompanied Captain Cook to Tahiti, and William Bartram who shared specimens from the New World with scientists across the globe.