The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) serves the community of the chemical and molecular sciences, and the wider public, by treasuring the past, educating the present, and inspiring the future. CHF maintains a world-class collection of materials that document the history and heritage of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries; encourages research in CHF collections; and carries out a program of outreach and interpretation in order to advance an understanding of the role of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries in shaping society.
In 1980 a group of scientists and industrialists concluded that the time had come to found a national history center devoted to the chemical and molecular sciences and industries. In 1982 the Center for the History of Chemistry (CHOC) was launched as a pilot project of the University of Pennsylvania and the American Chemical Society (ACS). In 1984 the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) became the third sponsor.
In 1987 the Center was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, now named the National Foundation for the History of Chemistry, by joint action of the ACS and AIChE. The Foundation rented space in a new building at the University of Pennsylvania and restructured its activities into those of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry (established 1987) and the Othmer Library of Chemical History (established 1988).
In 1992 the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) assumed its present name to better reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the sciences and industries it serves and the widening public scope of its activities. In 1995 CHF purchased its permanent home, the First National Bank building at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, and moved into its new location a year later. Today CHF enjoys the endorsement and support of more than 30 affiliated organizations.