Sun., Feb. 11, 1-5 p.m., free, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 3260 South St., 215-898-5000British naturalist Charles Darwin is coming up on his 198th birthday this year. To celebrate, Penn Museum is throwing a party, complete with "Intelligently Designed" cookies and plaster-cast hominid skulls and bones. When not playing badminton with the guests, Darwin or a reasonable imitator will wander through the museum giving short readings from his published works. Among the party's distinguished guests is M. Susan Lindee, a professor of the history and sociology of science at Penn and an avid Darwin scholar. Lindee says that Darwin once told his cousin, "All excitement and fatigue brings on such dreadful flatulence that in fact I can go nowhere." But if Darwin were to travel through Philly in 2007, our city might prove irresistible for the erstwhile anthropologist.
On the Academic Front: "[As an] internationally well-known scientist, Darwin would definitely have gone to Penn to give a lecture," speculates Lindee. "He'd want to see the laboratories and he'd probably want to see the Liberty Bell."
With the Family in Tow: "[Darwin] was an adoring father," says Lindee. "His kids were like him little naturalists. He might have brought them to the Philadelphia Zoo."
And for Good Eats: "Darwin was always interested in the natives," says Lindee, "so he would have eaten in local dining halls, developed friendships with local residents, visited the Pennsylvanian countryside and collected species of animals and plants." Sometimes, Darwin even collected people: "He brought back interesting natives to London. He probably would have tried to persuade interesting Philly taxi drivers to go back with him."