Staging Science

2015, Science, Temporary Exhibit, University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection
history, laboratory, logo, opening invitation, pedagogy, promotional materials, science, scientific instruments, University of Toronto
About This Project

Date: June 4, 2015 – May 2016

Partner: University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection

Venue: Third Floor of Victoria College – map

Project Members: Patrick Donovan, Laura Hartwell, Meggi Mah, and Erin Tuckey


Science is complex. Science is abstract. Yet scientific concepts are present in our everyday lives. How can we begin to comprehend, analyze, and communicate the scientific theories and practices that govern our world?


We can turn to models, the tools of scientific exploration.


Acting as physical representations of complex ideas, models reveal to us the hidden concepts of science. They produce meaning and give answers to our questions. Models are the bridge between human capability and scientific phenomena. From within and beyond laboratory walls, models break down the barriers that block our understanding.


Featuring models from the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection, Staging Science showcases a part of the University of Toronto’s scientific heritage. Reaching across academic disciplines, this collection highlights the diverse and intriguing world of scientific models. Staging Science examines the use of models from different perspectives. Whether being analyzed by scientists, applied in society, or used by students, models provide a stage upon which science can be explored.


This exhibition is intended for an audience of students, both undergraduate and graduate, that attend Victoria College. It will also target the college’s faculty members, staff, and visiting scholars.


The exhibition was developed in collaboration with the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection (UTSIC), the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. The development of


Staging Science began in September of 2014. Overall, the exhibition took nine months to plan. Currently, the final graphic design of the interpretive panels and labels are being developed. The installation will take place in May of 2015. The exhibit will run from June 4th, 2015 to approximately May 2016. Staging Science includes 25 objects from the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection, spanning multiple departments. The exhibition will follow an interpretive structure, comprised of interpretive text panels, objects, and object labels. It will be organized thematically, exploring: Models for the Scientist, Models in Society, and Models for the Student. Each section will support the big idea by demonstrating how models of each discipline are used to facilitate interactivity between a scientific concept and the individual. The content of the exhibition was researched by graduate students of IHPST.


This exhibit is being promoted through the Faculty of Information to students, faculty, and staff. Near the exhibit opening date, electronic invitations will be sent to individuals asking them to attend the exhibition’s opening event. An event will be created on Facebook for social media coverage, and individuals close to the project will receive paper invitations. Programming will include a 3D Printing demonstration at the opening event.


Although Staging Science has not yet opened, our anticipated outcome is the increased visibility and appreciation of the UTSIC collection. We also hope to use these objects to demonstrate how scientific models are used both within and beyond laboratory walls.


We would like to acknowledge the Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto, in particular, Professor Matthew Brower for his instruction and guidance. We would also like to thank the individuals from the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection for their support and collaboration, with special thanks going to Paul Greenham. We also extend our gratitude to the team of volunteers from the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, without whom this project would not have been possible.