The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Science
On view at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) through September 2016 is “Science Under Glass,” which celebrates the craft, art, and use of laboratory glassware. The display and the accompanying online exhibition draw from the museum’s collection of more than 1,000 pieces of scientific glassware.
From beakers and test tubes to Erlenmeyer flasks, these beautiful, seemingly fragile objects are what cartoonists, novelists, and moviemakers have long used to signal that a fictional character is a scientist. Place a test tube in the hand of a white-coated actor and every audience member will recognize her occupation.
Glassware, however, serves a vital function in the laboratory, allowing researchers to heat a substance, cool a substance, see a substance, monitor a reaction. And through the centuries, expert glassblowers have been asked to create intricate tubes and containers for specialized functions.
So, enjoy this slide show of photographs of laboratory interiors from the Science Service photographic morgue, and then take a look at the NMAH online exhibition for help in identifying the different types of flasks, tubes, and beakers arrayed behind these bacteriologists, chemists, biologists, and inventors.
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- The little known history behind Cinco de Mayo. [via Smithsonian Magazine]
- A short film on the Smithsonian's incredible whale skeleton collection. [via Hakai Magazine]
- The Prelinger Archives has published 6600 public domain films to the Internet Archive! [via Open Culture]
- A newly released report on collections management policy across the Smithsonian's 19 museums, 9 research centers, libraries, archives, and the zoo.
- NOAA's Okeanos Explorer has stumbled on these glowing jellyfish in Mariana Trench 2.3 miles beneath the surface. [via Scientific American]