In Pursuit of Beauty: “…beautifully combines art and science…”
With its exhibition “In Pursuit of Beauty,” Washington College has created an exhibition that beautifully combines art and science, both in its content and in the originality of its display. The show offers the perfect balance of rigorous scholarship and public accessibility, with spectacular books, prints, and paintings, engaging and informative text, and an aesthetically pleasing installation. The use of small computer screens to allow visitors to see book pages that are not on view is both technologically sophisticated and innovative (few if any libraries in the country have taken advantage of this sort of technology), and offered in such a tasteful, understated way, that the original materials (in this case the books) are able to retain their appropriate primacy in the exhibition. In conceiving and organizing the exhibition, curator Alex Castro and his assistant, Sean Meade, took a refreshing interdisciplinary approach to the subject They took full advantage of the materials available for display, then enhanced them by creating an immersive experience for visitors (complete with bird songs). As a result, the exhibit is so engaging that everyone seeing it wants to stay, and almost anyone of any age leaves having learned something whether they had intended to or not. Of the many book exhibits I have seen in museums and libraries across the United States and around the world during my 35 year professional career, I can think of very few that have matched “In Pursuit of Beauty” for its aesthetic and educational quality.
Robert M. Peck
Curator of Art and Artifacts and
Senior Fellow of the Academy
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University