The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science and Art was founded in 1908 by Dr. Isaiah Fawkes Everhart. Dr. Everhart was a Scranton physician and businessman with a keen interest in natural history. After military service in the Civil War, Dr. Everhart conceived the idea of assembling a comprehensive collection of Pennsylvania’s native birds and animals. A skilled taxidermist, he started a collection of mounted specimens which soon expanded into one of the finest and largest collections in the United States.
Dr. Everhart wrote a will in 1905 that specified that funds from his estate should be used to construct the “Dr. I.F. Everhart general museum to be built in Nay Aug Park in the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania,” and that additional funds were to be used for an endowment to support the institution. Three years after his will was prepared, Dr. Everhart continued to collect specimens, and as his collections grew he recognized the need to build the museum during his lifetime. In 1907 he publicly announced that he would provide funds and guidance for the creation of a Museum “for the young and old of this generation and for all of those who follow after…for their pleasure and education.” Construction soon began and the original building of the Everhart Museum was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1908. At that time, the Museum’s collections primarily consisted of Dr. Everhart’s ornithological specimens. In 1908, Dr. Everhart established an endowment fund in investment bonds in order to provide perpetual care for his Museum.
In honor of the Museum’s founder, a bronze statue of Dr. Everhart and Lake Everhart were dedicated on May 20, 1911. Dr. Everhart died just five days later on May 25th 1911.
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