The year 2015 featured many groundbreaking new initiatives for the University of Oklahoma, including an innovative museum exhibition through the university’s Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Galileo’s World, a collection of interactive exhibits that inspire active audience engagement with history, providing an example of the exciting new frontiers available for students of museum studies.
In honor of the University of Oklahoma’s 125th anniversary, the Sam Noble Museum launched Through the Eyes of the Lynx: Galileo, Natural History and the Americas—one of two Galileo’s World exhibitions—in collaboration with the Bizzell Memorial Library, the National Weather Center, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Headington Hall, the Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library and the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Library. It features 20 exhibits at seven locations in Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Lasting through 2016, Galileo’s World features 300 written works from The Academy of the Lynx that include precious pieces by Aristotle, Giovanni Battista Ferrari, Sebastian Munster, Pliny the Elder, Ptolemy and Galileo Galilei.
The Academy of the Lynx, Accademia dei Lincei, remains one of the world’s oldest and most storied scientific societies, with historic collections dating to the first century and membership including scientific giants such as Galileo. Through the Eyes of the Lynx provides a window into their world, using modern technology and display techniques to make the ancient texts available for public viewing.
The current Lynx exhibit details the works of 16th century Spanish Court physician Francisco Hernandez de Toledo as he attempted to completely record Native American flora and fauna in Central Mexico. Utilizing Aztec artists and physicians, Hernandez and his son traveled and worked for seven years, diligently logging the descriptions of plants and animals and their medicinal uses, including detailed illustrations. Hernandez’s work in the New World became a multi-volume series describing thousands of flora and fauna yet to be seen by most of the world at the time. In addition to Hernandez’s collection, priceless classical works that influenced members of the Lynx to experiment with their own theories regarding the New World discoveries, and the results, are memorialized in the publications in the exhibit.
According to spokesperson Jen Tregarthen, “Through the Eyes of the Lynx is a unique opportunity for the Sam Noble Museum to provide an authentic, all-encompassing experience for our visitors to witness how discoveries in the 16th century were made.”
The museum will offer Galileo’s World Lecture Series and Sky Watch every second Thursday of the month, November 2015 through July 2016. Sky Watch and the lecture series are complimentary and open to the public, and are hosted by the University of Oklahoma’s Observatory on the museum lawn.
The Sam Noble Museum is located on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus at J. Willis Stovall Road and Chautauqua Avenue. For accommodations on the basis of disability, call (405) 325-4712 or visit their website.