The Delaware County Institute of Science was formed on September 21, 1833 as an association at first of only five individuals; namely George Miller, Minshall Painter, John Miller, George Smith, M.D., and John Cassin. These friends were interested in sciences and natural history.
When membership increased it became necessary for the Institute to obtain real estate and an application was made to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for corporate privileges, which were granted on the 8th of February, 1836.
The Institute’s first home was a hall of modest pretentions built in 1837, located a short distance from the Rose Tree Inn in Upper Providence Township where a store and Post Office were already located. This sturdy, plastered stone structure still stands today as a private home.
In 1850 when Media was incorporated as a borough and also became the seat of government for Delaware County, it seemed wise to move the institute to town to be nearer public transportation as before “The object of the association was to promote the study and diffusion of general knowledge and the establishment of a museum. And to serve as a non-profit organization for the people of Delaware County and adjoining areas.”
When building in Media was considered, Minshall Painter, a founder and first secretary, purchased a half block of land facing the new courthouse and presented to the Institute that frontage by 80′ deep along South Avenue from Jasper to Front Street. He secured the funds to construct the building, soliciting from members and contributing generously from his own pocket.
The building was constructed in 1867. Its design closely followed the line and size of the Philadelphia Dispensary, which was located where the present Bourse Building now stands.
Though we now occupy the entire building, the interior was designed to house the bank known as the Media Title and Trust Company on the first floor, thus leaving the 2nd floor and balcony for displays, library and meeting hall for the Institute.
George Smith, M.D. 1833-1882
Hon. John M. Broomall 1882-1894
T. Chalkley Palmer 1894-1934
George Pennock 1934-1938
Carolus Broomall 1938-1939
Walter Palmer 1939-1953
Harold W. Arndt 1953-1960
Russell J. Emmons 1960-1963
William Blake Gibson, M.D. 1963-1990
Alfred C. Palmer 1990-2012