Michigan State University

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The Observation Experiment

Through MSU Museum collections and the research of graduate students at Michigan State University, the exhibition “The Observation Experiment” explores the various ways we observe our world. The exhibition invites viewers to contemplate how observation can lead to understanding and ideally make the world better for all.

The exhibition highlights several perspectives on the theme of observation including the observation of humans in order to understand behaviors, events, and how to do new things; the observation of flora and fauna so that we can understand the planet, its effect on us, and our impact on it; and the importance of observation in determining what is valuable to preserve in our world and working toward ensuring others can observe it in the future. Parts of the exhibition remain unfinished and ask Museum visitors to observe within the Museum as an experiment aimed at discovering new ways of co-creating exhibitions.

Using artifacts and specimens from the MSU Museum’s collection as inspiration, sections of the exhibition were created by three doctoral students at MSU in the SEEK (Sharing Expertise and Exploring Knowledge) Fellows program. The SEEK Fellowship is sponsored by the Michigan State University Graduate School to help doctoral students discover ways to communicate knowledge to broader audiences. Graduate students involved in the exhibition are Sandy Burnley (Department of English), Carson Broeker (Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), and Ramya Swayamprakash (Department of History).

In addition to the exhibition, there is a robust line-up of programs centered around observation.

FOMO?: Change Blindness and Selective Attention
Humans miss more than they think. Learn more with Dr. Jan Brascamp and Haley Frey from MSU’s Department of Psychology
Friday, March 4, 2022 | Noon – 1:00 PM | MSU Museum

Conservation Stewards
Explore Amazing Ecosystems with Georgia Peterson, MSU Extension
Saturday, March 12, 2022 | 1:00 – 3:00 PM | MSU Museum and MSU campus

The Art of Mindful Cooking
With Culinary Therapist Julie Ohana
Thursday, March 24, 2022 | 5:00 – 6:30 PM | MSU Museum

Waterfowl Observation Driving Tour
Observe Waterfowl in Local Environments with Dr. Pam Rasmussen, MSU Museum Curator
Saturday, April 2 | 9:00 – 11:00 AM | Start at MSU Museum

Stress Less with Mindfulness
Reduce Stress Through Mindfulness Concepts with Abigail Cudney, MSU Extension
Friday, April 8 | Noon – 1:00 PM | MSU Museum

This exhibition and programs are funded in part by the Michigan State University Credit Union.

Main Gallery

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