An Experiment in Wonder


Galileo's World: An Experiment in Wonder
Download slides (PDF) | Watch video (Vimeo)

We’re grateful to the Missouri Association of Museums and Archives for inviting us to present a luncheon keynote at their annual conference this Saturday, October 19. They expressed interest in the story of the Galileo’s World exhibition in 2015-2016. Amanda Langendoerfer suggested the title “An Experiment in Wonder.” Brent is at the 16th-Century Society annual conference up the road in St. Louis, so Kerry will be presenting. The keynote comes at the end, so it’s likely I’ll revise the talk somewhat as a result of what I’ll be hearing in other papers during the course of the conference, yet I’ve posted here the current draft updated version of the presentation as a PDF of slides with presenter notes.


  1. Galileo’s World – Big Idea
  2. Galileo’s World – Virtual Tour
  3. Behind the Scenes
  4. A Participatory Exhibit?

It’s been meaningful to me to go back and reflect and gather some general thoughts about the exhibit to share with this audience. Some of the “lessons learned” from this story:

  • As Curators of Wonder, we spark participation
  • Stories come first, holdings later
  • Stories surprise by crossing disciplinary and other boundaries
  • Open access promotes far-reaching collaborations
  • Student co-curators and docents are the ace up our sleeves
  • Educators and public librarians amplify and multiply our efforts

But there’s much more to say than will fit in a 45 minute talk! Brent and I have been thinking of publishing an account of the exhibit from our perspective in the History of Science Collections, so consider this a preliminary stab at a portion of that effort (for which Brent already has a good draft). 

Looking forward to I loved the conference!

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *