AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 1. HAD I: Exhibiting the History of Astronomy
Historical, Oral, Sunday, May 30, 1999, 1:00-5:30pm, Adler Planetarium

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[1.02] Astronomy and Art Merged: Targeting Other Audiences

A. F. Friedman (Adler Planetarium)

One of the fundamental concerns of museum exhibition is to reach as broad an audience as possible. One way to open up the history of astronomy to a wider audience is to create an exhibit with an interdisciplinary theme and to select a venue outside of a science institution. Here I discuss ``Awestruck by the Majesty of the Heavens: Artistic Perspectives from the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum History of Astronomy Collection," which took place at the Chicago Cultural Center from January to March of 1997. ``Awestruck" featured a selection of celestial charts, portrait prints of famous astronomers, plates from books on astronomical topics, and other works on paper. It focused on the connections between art and science during the period 1500-1800. Scientific content and place within the history of astronomy were discussed in addition to the artistic merit of the objects. The Chicago Cultural Center is an institution that is home to a wide variety of cultural programming including art, music, film, theater, and dance. In addition to providing a different audience for this material than that which typically visits the Adler, ``Awestruck" also represented an expansion of material for the Cultural Center's audience to view, as their exhibition spaces primarily show only 20th-century art. Programming such as gallery talks and the production of an art-museum-type exhibition catalog will also be discussed.

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