Obscura Society SF: Into the Archives at California Academy of Sciences - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

San Francisco, California

Obscura Society SF: Into the Archives at California Academy of Sciences

Join us for a rare peek behind the scenes into the research department collections at California Academy of Sciences

Join us in the rarely seen research departments at the California Academy of Sciences for a very special, small group tour of the herpetology collection (more than 300,000 specimens) along with highlights from the archives and rare books from the library.

The Academy’s collections are normally only accessible to researchers, so this is a rare chance to get behind the scenes. To give you a sense of the diversity of materials on hand in this extraordinary collection: among the wonders in the archives are a rare double elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America that survived the 1906 earthquake and fire, a piece of the transatlantic cable, and the fabulous cane of Andrew Randall, the Academy founder whose murderer was lynched by the San Francisco Vigilance Committee.

About our guide: Bob Drewes is the curator of the California Academy of Sciences Herpetology Department. He has been at the Academy for 34 years, and frequently leads research expeditions to study the amphibians and other endemic species of São Tomé and Príncipe. He is one of the most enthusiastic, funny, and knowledgeable herpetologists you will ever meet, and that is a surprisingly high bar.


  • Friday, March 21, meet at 2:45pm
  • Meeting place: 75 Nancy Pelosi Drive (the staff/research entrance to the Academy). You'll have to sign in at reception and get visitor's badges

This is limited to a very small group. Advance tickets required - walk up spots will not be available.