Meeting the challenges of our complex world demands better understanding, in both technical and humanistic terms, of the changes in science, technology and medicine that have profoundly shaped human lives. History of science draws on the tools of anthropology, sociology and philosophy, as well as intellectual, social and cultural history, to reveal important insights into how and why these changes occurred. History of science can yield deeper historical perspectives on pressing contemporary issues, and provides a platform for broader public engagement into the sciences.
The Consortium brings together educational, cultural and scientific institutions to promote public and academic understanding of the history of science, technology and medicine. The Consortium awards fellowships for researchers, produces events for academics and for the public and provides online resources for teaching, learning and research. The Consortium was established in 2007 as a regional collaboration of eleven institutions in the Philadelphia area. In 2014, the Consortium began to expand across the United States and Canada, welcoming the partners listed below. The Consortium will continue to add new member institutions with exceptional historical resources.
In just ten years, the Consortium has grown into a highly successful collaboration of universities, research libraries and museums. Highlights include:
- Public lectures, film viewings and performances covering such diverse topics as the legacy of Galileo, the history of the electric car, and biobanking of genetic materials, with audiences ranging in size from 50 to 300.
- A fellowship program funding research projects that make use of multiple archives within the members' collections. Support includes research grants, nine-month dissertation fellowships, as well as a nine-month postdoctoral fellowship.
- Working groups meeting in Philadelphia about 65 times per year for discussion of specialized topics in the history of science, technology and medicine. These groups reach a growing online community. Over 220 scholars from more than 100 institutions --stretching from Tel Aviv and Utrecht to Beijing and Singapore--participated in 2016-2017. In some locations, individuals now get together as a "satellite group" to participate in the discussion.
- An online search hub providing a simple, unified search interface of the more than 4.4 million rare books and manuscripts housed in Consortium collections.
- Online resources accessed by approximately 200,000 people each year. A calendar of events in the history of science, technology and medicine at member institutions lists more than 200 events per year. The website provides detailed information on members' collections and recent news about the Consortium and its members.
- An active community comprising scholars, librarians, students, nonprofit leaders and members of the public who care deeply about science, technology and medicine, past and present, and who participate in our events and take advantage of members' resources.
A growing number of foundations, corporations and individuals support the Consortium's activities. As the pace of scientific change continues to accelerate, it is more important than ever to support scholarship examining that change, helping us to understand the choices we have made in the past and their consequences for our future.