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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter January 11, 2016

Science at Play

2 October 2015 – 3 September 2016, Philadelphia, PA, USA

From the journal Chemistry International

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) opens a new exhibition 2 October 2 2015, titled Science at Play, exploring the many facets of miniature scientific laboratories for children and drawing from CHF’s collection of more than 250 science kits and toys.

Chemistry sets and science toys contain much more than their parts. Savvy marketing slogans play to parents’ hopes for the future success of their children and to the children’s own desires for fun and excitement: “Developing Today’s Young Scientist for Tomorrow’s Future,” and “Fun! Mystifying! Give a Magic Show!” Science at Play lifts the lid on these toys to reveal stories of aspiration, discovery, creativity, magic, and mayhem.

“Looking closely at the sets can tell you a lot about how children used them,” guest curator Jane E. Boyd said, “There were acid burn marks on the boxes, handwritten notes in the manuals, half-empty or unused vials of chemicals, and much more.”

Those who are not able to see the exhibition on site can share their own tales of scientific discovery in an online gallery at These stories could become part of Science at Play’s special community gallery. Visitors can also use the #ScienceAtPlay hashtag or visit to interact with CHF and other science enthusiasts.

 Chemcraft No1. “Chemical Outfit” Set, ca. 1928. CHF Collections. Photo by Gregory Tobias

Chemcraft No1. “Chemical Outfit” Set, ca. 1928. CHF Collections. Photo by Gregory Tobias

“This exhibition encourages all of us to explore the adventurous side of science and the joy that comes from scientific exploration for fun,” said Erin McLeary, director of the Museum at CHF. “CHF is thrilled to reveal its playful side through this strong segment of our collections.”

Science at Play will be on display through 2 September 2016.

Published Online: 2016-1-11
Published in Print: 2016-1-1

©2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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