In a historic move, Drexel University will take over management of the venerable Academy of Natural Sciences, founded here in 1812.

The institutions announced yesterday that both boards of trustees Wednesday unanimously approved the partnership of the university and the natural-sciences museum, the oldest in America, which will become known as the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Besides housing a catalog of more than 17 million natural history specimens and artifacts, including plant specimens collected by Lewis and Clark in their exploration of the American West in the early 1800s, the academy is a world leader in biodiversity and environmental research.

The Pew Charitable Trusts announced that it would provide $1 million to help cover transition costs.

The academy will celebrate its 200th birthday next year in a structure built in 1876 and requiring major, and costly, renovations.