New Palmer Gallery exhibition explores creativity in the sciences, February 18-March 6, 2016

A new exhibition at Vassar’s Palmer Gallery explores the human, more intuitive aspect of scientific work. Spark! A Feel for Science will be on view February 18-March 6. An opening reception will be held in the gallery on Thursday, February 18, 4:30-6:30pm. This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Curated by Richard Jones, collections manager for the Warthin Museum of Natural History at Vassar and co-director of the Vassar College Artifacts Project, Spark! displays of some of Vassar’s antique science equipment juxtaposed with thoughts from modern scientists. “Science is often thought of solely as a discipline of the rational mind. Through the scientific method, a question is asked, a hypothesis is proposed, and sometimes answers are found. But it’ also a creative endeavor,” Jones explains. “With Spark! I hope to replicate small fragments of what it’s like to be a creative being in a logic driven endeavor.”

The exhibition features, among other artifacts, glass slides from the Biology Department, lunar images from the Astronomy Department, as well as surprising efforts of creativity in other endeavors. It also features touchstones of inspiration, such as a book from the Vassar Library with the first use of the word ‘robot’.  Spark! includes materials that illustrate the ‘creative leap,’ devices invented for the sole purpose of answering questions, such as a Winogradsky Column (a sort of microbiological ‘Ant Farm’) and sound diffusers, designed to manipulate the way sound moves around a concert hall.

Spark! is part of a series of events celebrating the opening of the new Bridge for Laboratory Sciences building on campus. Information about other exhibitions and happenings can be found at .

The Palmer Gallery is located on the first floor of Main Building and is open 11am-6pm, Monday – Saturday.

Situated between the North Atrium and the Retreat cafeteria, the James W. Palmer III Gallery is at the heart of the College Center addition to Vassar’s Main Building. Constructed in 1996, the gallery was named and endowed by the Palmer family in 2000 in memory of their son James, a member of the class of 1990. Serving as an exhibition space for artwork created within and beyond the Vassar community, the gallery displays art of diverse mediums, themes, and origins. 

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (

Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, February 9, 2016