Science History Institute

aka The Institute   |   PHILADELPHIA, PA   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Science History Institute

EIN: 22-2817365


The Science History Institute collects and shares the stories of innovators and of discoveries that shape our lives with a focus on preserving and interpreting the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences. The Institute houses an archive and a library for historians and researchers; a fellowship program for visiting scholars from around the globe; a community of researchers who examine historical and contemporary issues; an award-winning digital content platform that includes videos, articles, and a podcast; an acclaimed museum that is free and open to the public; and a state-of-the-art conference center.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

David Cole

Main address



Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Center for the History of Chemistry

Chemical Heritage Foundation

The Life Sciences Foundation



Subject area info

Arts and culture


History museums



Show more subject areas

Population served info



NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add a problem overview.

Login and update

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History

The Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History is an independent research library encompassing the history of chemistry and related sciences and industries.

The Othmer Library was founded in 1988 when Donald and Mildred Topp Othmer announced their challenge grant to be given for the creation of a library that would work to preserve the history of the chemical sciences. The library now houses more than 140,000 print volumes, rare books and manuscripts, archival materials, and historical photographs. Together these collections—spanning nearly six miles of shelves—form an unrivaled resource for the history of chemistry and related sciences, technologies, and industries.

Located in Philadelphia, the library is open to researchers by appointment.

Population(s) Served

The Center for Oral History at the Science History Institute develops and curates a growing collection of comprehensive, professionally conducted oral history interviews.

Our mission is to ensure that current and future scholars and interested individuals are able to understand science, medicine, and technology from the perspective of those who participated in them, as recorded in their own words.

The Center for Oral History serves as a significant force in contributing to the history of the sciences in the 20th and 21st centuries. We have collected hundreds of oral histories about science, scientists, and scientific practices.

Population(s) Served

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry comprises a dynamic community of scholars interested in the history and social studies of chemistry, broadly construed. It is also home to associated academic activities, including a public lecture series, weekly lunchtime talk series, writing group, book series, and network of over 250 alumni.

Population(s) Served

Science is all around us. It’s not just found in the laboratory. It’s in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, and the earth beneath our feet.

At our museum, you can explore the amazing successes, astonishing failures, and strange surprises behind the science that shapes our world.

Be sure to check out Downstream, our award-winning exhibition exploring more than 200 years of water analysis and protection in the United States, and our newly refreshed permanent galleries featuring new objects, more inclusive content, and hidden or obscured science histories.

Immerse yourself in stories of discovery, challenge, and change by exploring our digital exhibitions on Google Arts & Culture.

Named one of Philadelphia’s best museums by Condé Nast Traveler and featured on CBSPhilly, a visit to the Science History Institute is a journey through the weird and wonderful world of matter and materials.

Discover the science in your life!

Population(s) Served

The Science History Institute produces a wide range of virtual and in-person events aimed at students, educators, scientific professionals, scholars, science history lovers, and the intellectually curious.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Science History Institute
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.22 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 3.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 24% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Science History Institute

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Science History Institute

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Science History Institute

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Science History Institute’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $1,094,202 -$1,850,497 $2,945,585 $636,417 $9,285
As % of expenses 12.0% -19.8% 45.3% 9.2% 0.1%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $290,396 -$2,703,180 $2,097,495 -$225,783 -$825,031
As % of expenses 2.9% -26.5% 28.6% -2.9% -9.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $8,865,868 $8,497,963 $3,373,108 $7,703,716 $7,789,030
Total revenue, % change over prior year 2.1% -4.1% -60.3% 128.4% 1.1%
Program services revenue 15.5% 9.1% 4.4% 5.2% 8.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 2.1% 1.6% 1.4% 0.2% 1.6%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 36.5% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 76.1% 72.7% 38.3% 94.6% 90.4%
Other revenue 6.2% 16.7% 19.5% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $9,138,009 $9,329,786 $6,498,242 $6,913,904 $8,141,697
Total expenses, % change over prior year -14.3% 2.1% -30.3% 6.4% 17.8%
Personnel 55.8% 60.0% 62.9% 59.5% 57.9%
Professional fees 7.6% 9.1% 5.6% 7.5% 10.5%
Occupancy 3.3% 3.2% 3.5% 3.4% 3.3%
Interest 9.2% 8.6% 12.3% 11.7% 9.9%
Pass-through 2.3% 4.4% 6.4% 5.3% 5.6%
All other expenses 21.9% 14.7% 9.3% 12.6% 12.9%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $9,941,815 $10,182,469 $7,346,332 $7,776,104 $8,976,013
One month of savings $761,501 $777,482 $541,520 $576,159 $678,475
Debt principal payment $87,427 $0 $1,227,227 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $10,790,743 $10,959,951 $9,115,079 $8,352,263 $9,654,488

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 3.4 3.1 8.4 1.0 3.5
Months of cash and investments 3.6 3.2 8.4 8.9 8.3
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 5.9 5.4 12.0 12.7 11.9
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $2,617,159 $2,381,902 $4,569,342 $571,899 $2,391,706
Investments $101,124 $101,091 $0 $4,546,260 $3,253,677
Receivables $5,700,217 $5,681,343 $2,456,517 $2,843,068 $2,501,427
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $63,108,950 $63,578,456 $63,836,402 $64,344,773 $64,540,446
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 49.3% 51.8% 54.2% 56.2% 58.7%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 39.2% 44.4% 43.8% 43.8% 45.2%
Unrestricted net assets $19,815,478 $17,112,298 $19,209,793 $18,984,010 $18,158,979
Temporarily restricted net assets $7,091,130 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $7,091,130 $6,481,891 $3,310,838 $3,406,470 $3,054,368
Total net assets $26,906,608 $23,594,189 $22,520,631 $22,390,480 $21,213,347

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President & CEO

David Cole

David Cole is the president and CEO of the Institute. Before joining the Institute in May 2020, he served as the executive director of the Hagley Museum and Library in Delaware. Prior to his tenure at Hagley, Cole held positions as vice president for advancement, communications, and public education of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and as the director of strategic initiatives for the Harvard Art Museums of Harvard University. Cole has been a Henry Luce Foundation Fellow and a research fellow of the Learning Innovations Laboratory of Harvard University. He has taught at Harvard University, Rice University, and the University of Texas, Austin. Cole chairs the boards of the Delaware Council on Economic Education and the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, is a trustee of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, and is a member of the Philadelphia Committee on Foreign Relations. A graduate of Vanderbilt and Harvard Universities, he obtained a PhD from the University of Texas.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Science History Institute

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Science History Institute

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Science History Institute

Board of directors
as of 01/24/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Lewis Gasorek

Listowel, Inc.

Term: 2021 -

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/24/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation



Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser