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August 16, 2024 – February 15, 2025

How does illustration enhance scientific theory and thought? Illustration has always been a critical part of scientific inquiry, a way to impart understanding differently than words. But there is a story in this history, one that explores the relationship between women and science. This exhibition considers the biographies of a few women scientific illustrators and some of their contributions in their fields. 

 Across centuries, a great evolution in the role of women in scientific illustration is seen through the works and experiences of the featured artists. It is interesting to examine the different roles women were allowed to occupy over time, but also within a discipline. This exhibition explores many disciplines including Anatomy, Chemistry, Physics, Natural History, Astrology, Geology, Aeronautics and Data Science.  

 Why these women? We do not propose that these are the most important female scientists, nor do we share here those who did not illustrate. This was a dive into a specific pool of history and an attempt to raise awareness of these women and their works, many whose dedication to the study of science was cast aside behind the stories of their male counterparts. We asked specialists from across campus and across fields of studies to explore these women with us, and we are grateful for their contributions to the exhibition. We invite you to learn about these women and enjoy their beautiful work. 

Curated by Meg Brown, Brooke Guthrie and Lauren Reno with contributions from Nicole Cagle, Patrick Charbonnau, Alexander Glass, Laura Grunert, Colette Harley, Dana Hogan, Rachel Ingold, Dan Richter, Jacquie Samples, Rebecca Williams and Angela Zoss.  


Snake with scales, blcak on one side, grey on the other, coiled in a circle.
Coluber constrictor, image by Maria Martin from John E. Holbrook’s North American Herpetology