Year of Science - 2009

The Allen Memorial Art Museum is pleased to join Oberlin College in the national observance of 2009 as the “Year of Science,” a celebration of how science works, why science matters, and who scientists are, led by the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.  In addition, 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the International Year of Astronomy, the International Year of Earth Sciences, and other important scientific landmarks.  To coincide with these events, the AMAM has organized several new initiatives this year, all funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

The museum conceived and organized the exhibition "Starry Dome: Astronomy in Art and the Imagination," to support the Oberlin College course "Introductory Astronomy." Likewise, the AMAM Education Department developed an accompanying Teacher Resource Packet for K-12 classes that focuses on the show’s connections to the history and practice of astronomy.

Special “Year of Science” labels also have been created for select works in the permanent collection galleries.  Written by AMAM student assistants during the spring and summer, the labels highlight connections between works of art and disciplines such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, environmental science, neuroscience, and optics. The “Year of Science” labels are published in brochure format, available for free at the AMAM Information Desk.  Pick one up and then look for the corresponding logo on designated “Year of Science” objects in the galleries.

The AMAM is also sponsoring a new module course during the fall semester, taught by Heather Galloway, Paintings Conservator at the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Cleveland.  Designed to bridge art history, chemistry, and studio art, “ARTS 402: Conservation Examination of the Painted Surface” will explore the technology of various paint media, its relationship to artistic expression, the alteration caused by degradation, and the ethics of the conservator’s intervention.  Using the AMAM collection, students will discover what material evidence can reveal about artistic production, history, and condition. 
Click here to see images from the module.

Lectures by leading specialists in the field of art and science – from art conservators, to astronomers, to historians of science – will accompany these programs during the fall semester.  The following is a
list of guest speakers (click here for more information on each talk):

Tuesday, September 22 @ 5:00pm, Classroom 1
Pamela H. Smith, Professor of History at Columbia University
“Butter and Gold, Lizards and Vermilion: Art and Science in Early Modern Europe”

Thursday, Oct. 1 @ 5:00pm, Classroom 1
Frederick Ilchman, Mrs. Russell W. Baker Assistant Curator of Paintings, and
Rhona MacBeth, Eijk and Rose-Marie van Otterloo Conservator of Paintings
“Beneath the Surface of Tintoretto’s Nativity”

Tuesday, Oct. 6 @ 5:00pm, Classroom 1
Gregory D. Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Conservation Science, Buffalo State College
“What's Wrong with This Picture? The Technical Analysis of a Known Forgery”

Monday, Oct. 12 @ 5:00pm, Craig Lecture Hall, Science Center
Jay Pasachoff, Director of Hopkins Observatory and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy,
Williams College
“Art and Astronomy”

Thursday, December 3 @ 5:00pm, Classroom 1
Erik Inglis, Professor of Art, Oberlin College
“The Stars above Paris: Monuments to François Arago, the greatest astronomer in 19th-century France”

Learn more about the Year of Science 2009 at: