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Highlights of the Drexel Collection

April 15, 2013

For the first time in Drexel University’s history, the most treasured works of art and archival artifacts from around the University will be exhibited together during “A Legacy of Art, Science & Industry: Highlights from the Collections of Drexel University.”  

Approximately 90 objects spanning the 15th through 20th centuries – paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, rare books, historical documents, political posters, historical costumes and even a surgical amputation kit – will be on display. The exhibition is open to the public and free of charge through Friday, May 31 in the newly expanded Leonard Pearlstein Gallery (3401 Filbert Street), part of Westphal College’s URBN Annex. Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

An opening reception will take place Friday, April 19, beginning at 5 p.m. Remarks will be made by Drexel’s President John A. Fry and Allen Sabinson, dean of the Westphal College. “This exhibition beautifully brings together examples of creativity and craftsmanship that have been preserved throughout the university for generations,” said Dr. Luther Weldon Brady, Jr., honorary chair of the exhibition. “I’m thrilled to be a part of making this collection available, and fulfilling the personal and historic role of collections in the life of the university: to illuminate the past and to inform and inspire new generations.” 

Included in the exhibition are a letter from Ulysses S. Grant to Anthony J. Drexel indicating their close friendship, from the Drexel University Archives; the Drexel Collection’s painting by the well-known French artist Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot; items from the Westphal College’s Historic Costume Collection, including a  “Coco” Chanel evening ensemble; Polish political posters from the 1970’s and ‘80’s from the Fox and Lewalski Polish Poster Collection; magnetic tape sound recordings from the Sigma Sound Studio Collection archive; the College of Medicine’s bronze sculpture of Janet Travell, who later became the personal physician to President John F. Kennedy; and the buckskin jacket of John James Audubon from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.  

Anthony J. Drexel founded the Drexel Collection in May 1891, when he sent Drexel’s first President, James MacAlister, to Europe to acquire art for the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. A. J. Drexel recorded in his accession book, presently in The Drexel Collection, factual details on the art purchased by MacAlister during this European visit. The first exhibition opened on the first floor of the Main Building in December 1891 providing students with the opportunity to explore art firsthand.  For more information, contact Drexel Collection Curator Jacqueline DeGroff at