Imaging the Invisible
Topic: The Nature of Science Subtopic: Science & Society
of an Exhibit
Published on May 21, 2012
Museum: McKissick Museum Focus: University
People who worked on this: Allison Marsh (Chief Curator), Linda Fung (Designer), Megan Coker (Researcher), Sarah Scripps (Co-Curator)
Description and goals
Ever since Anton van Leeuwenhoek first began experimenting with the microscope in the 17th century, scientists have struggled with illustrating phenomena not visible to the naked eye. Imaging the Invisible surveys the history of scientific imaging to investigate the changing meaning of data representation. From Robert Hooke’s hand drawn observations of the cell to artists’ depictions of nanobots, this exhibit showcases historical examples as well as modern research to highlight the challenge of illustrating what scientists see.
The exhibit opens with four fundamental questions:
• How do you document a world that is not visible to the human eye?
• How do you convince people of things that are too small or too fast or too deep to see?
• Why do we trust scientific instruments to produce faithful images of an invisible reality?
• When do scientific images become works of art?
This exhibit was funded in part by NSF grant #SES-0531160, Nanotechnology in Society Network Node: Imaging, Scientific Change and Public Understanding of Emerging Nanotechnologies.
Exhibit Opened: August 2011
Location: Columbia, SC, United States
Estimated Cost: $10,000 to $50,000 (US)
CP2.3.pdf (PDF, 7.3 MB)
Why do we collect? Why do we preserve? (text panel)
08__Floor__Plan.pdf (PDF, 5.7 MB)
07__Exhibition__Walkthrough.pptx (PPTX, 32.2 MB)
PowerPoint exhibit walkthrough keyed to the floor plan.
09__Exhibition__Budget.pdf (PDF, 44 KB)
04__Narrative.pdf (PDF, 108.5 KB)
The narrative for our submission to the AAM award in exhibition excellence. We didn't win the award, but this document highlights our intentions for the exhibit.
Dibner__Narrative__--__marsh.pdf (PDF, 974.3 KB)
Our submission to the Dibner award from the Society for the History of Technology. (currently under review)