Browse Exhibits

Winds of Change

We talk about the weather when we have nothing else to say. When the weather is unpredictable or unusual for a significant period of time, we talk about climate change. A strong majority of scientists today believe that global climate change is occurring, and that it is caused by human activity. However, we have to distinguish between weather and climate. According to NASA, “The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time.” In other words, climate is weather with history, and to truly explore what climate change means for the future, we must understand the weather patterns of the past.

This exhibition investigates the relationship between weather and time by questioning past perceptions, examining measurement and prediction practices, and surveying sources of historical data.

About the Exhibition

Winds of Change was curated by Alla Barabtarlo, Timothy Perry, and Kelli Hansen in March 2016 in conjunction with the 12th Annual Life Sciences and Society Symposium at the University of Missouri. Digital imaging by Amy Spencer, Rebecca Benson, Ekaterina Shevchenko, and Kayla Thompson. Website constructed in Omeka by Kelli Hansen.

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Vesalius at 500

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Born in 1514 in modern-day Belgium, Vesalius studied at the Universities of Louvain, Paris, and Padua before becoming a professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of Padua. His primary contribution to the history of medicine was his emphasis on dissection and firsthand observation. Vesalius differed from his colleagues because he used his observations to challenge ancient and often inaccurate Greek and Roman medical writings, which formed the basis of all medical knowledge for over a thousand years.

Vesalius at 500 showcases materials from the Libraries’ collections that helped to shape Vesalius’ career, including medieval manuscripts and early printed books on medicine. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Vesalius’ most famous work, De Humani Corporis Fabrica. The Libraries hold two copies of this important book, a second edition printed in 1555, and a later edition from 1568. Recognizing MU’s strength in human and animal medical research, the exhibition considers Vesalius’ effect on the history of veterinary medicine with several early illustrated works on animal anatomy. Works of Renaissance science are also included in order to situate Vesalius within the world of sixteenth-century scientific thought.

Browse the Exhibition

About the Exhibition

Vesalius at 500: Student, Scholar, and Surgeon was curated in 2014 by a team of rare book librarians from the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library, the Zalk Veterinary Medical Library, and Ellis Library’s Special Collections and Rare Books department: Alla Barabtarlo, Kelli Hansen, Julie Christenson, Amanda Sprochi, and Trenton Boyd. The exhibition draws on MU Libraries’ special collections of more than 100,000 original artworks, manuscripts, rare books, and historic documents.  

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Kindred Kingdoms

Complex interrelations with kin have been a subject of lore and literature since time immemorial.

National folklore, classical mythology, and literary works are full of enthralling stories of familial lineage. Kinship became a subject of intense anthropological research in 1870, when Lewis Henry Morgan, in his Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity, defined kinship as the "links between people established on the basis of descent, marriage, or adoption."

A century later the study of kinship was thoroughly revamped, having rendered some of Morgan's definitions obsolete. Nowadays kinship is considered a "disputed territory," studied in sociology, medicine, genetics, and even political economy (Goody, De Jorio). Additionally, according to Edward Wilson, the idea of kin selection plays a very important role in evolutionary biology, helping to explain problems ranging from sibling rivalry to the virulence in disease-causing microbes.

Modern studies of kinship do not limit it to humans, thus our exhibit invites you to look at kinship in the kindred kingdoms of nature, placing man in relation to flora and fauna. Sometimes these juxtapositions cross the boundaries between the kingdoms and show striking similarities among plants, animals, and people. In fiction, such relationships even result in the transformation of people into animals and plants, such as mythic Daphne turning into a laurel tree (her Greek name says as much), Arachne into a spider in Ovid's Metamorphoses or Gregor Samsa into a giant insect in Kafka's Metamorphosis.

We use this opportunity to show treasures from our collections, as well as to explore what makes us human.

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