Wednesday we went to the curator's tour of the new Molecules That Matter exhibit at Skidmore College's Tang Museum given by Ray Giguere, professor of organic chemistry, and Tang Director John Weber. The museum is dedicated to indisciplicinary exhibits (previous shows have involved astronomy -- including basketball-sized meteors -- sound, and other cool topics), and the chemistry-based show includes gigantic models of the ten most important organic (carbon-based) molecules of the past 10 decades, chosen with an eye towards attracting young adults to the field of chemistry.
The exhibit also includes ads, samples of products like plastics and nylon, and paintings and sculpture inspired by the molecules on display.
I have set up field trips to the Tang for our homeschool group since the museum first opened, and several of our friends were with us Wednesday. While some of it seemed to go over the head of the kids (who are between 11 and 16), I could tell the parents were interested, which counts too in my book. After the talk, Tang educator Ginger Ertz had the kids (and adults) make collages using bits of plastic, reminiscent of one of the artworks in the show.
Everyone agreed it would be worthwhile to come back again in a month or two to view the exhibit again and do a different activity. In the meantime, there's a related interactive website to explore.