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Johns Hopkins University
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Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

March 5, 2008
CONTACT: Lisa De Nike
(443) 287-9960

Mapping the Cosmos Exhibit Presents Hubble Images as Art
Exhibit co-curated by Johns Hopkins University undergraduates

Taken from 1,500 light years way, the images are profoundly riveting: stars exploding, planets forming, pastel-colored gas clouds spreading filmy veils across a panorama.

The images in "Mapping the Cosmos: Images from the Hubble Space Telescope," an exhibit running through July 27 at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, are both art and science. And this first-ever exhibit dedicated to Hubble imagery as art is notable for another reason, as well: Undergraduates from The Johns Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences not only selected the images to put on display, but also co-curated the exhibit in conjunction with the Walters and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

The seven Johns Hopkins students involved worked on the exhibit as part of their "Behind the Scenes at the Walters Art Museum" course during the fall semester. Part of the university's Program in Museums and Society, the course put students in contact with experts at the Walters, from whom they learned museum exhibit policy, and at the Space Telescope Science Institute, who gave them a crash course in astrophysics.

Then came the fun part: selecting the images for the exhibit. According to Elizabeth Rodini, associate director of the Program in Museums and Society, each student chose five favorite images, but final decisions were made with input from scientists at the STScI and the class as a whole. Students also researched and authored the text of the labels explaining each image.

"This was truly a student-generated and curated project," said Rodini, who co-taught the course with Ben Tilghman, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins and a Zanvyl Krieger Cutorial Fellow at the Walters. "They were involved every step of the way and had a lot of input. It was a huge team effort."

The exhibit coincides with the Maps: Finding Our Place in the World exhibit at the Walters.

Using classroom teaching, research and real encounters with museums, Johns Hopkins' Program in Museums and Society helps students understand the role of museums and their collections across a wide range of scholarly disciplines. Students in the program learn to examine the role of such institutions and their contents in societies both past and present. In addition, the program strives to promote meaningful connections between the university and local and regional museums.

Following is a list of the student curators of "Mapping the Cosmos:"

Name Year Major Hometown High School
Julia (Lia) Klofas junior physics Los Gatos, Calif. St. Francis High School
Bryce Olenczak junior neuroscience / history of science, medicine and technology Hagerstown, Md. Mountain Lakes High School
Corey Sattler senior psychology Monroeville, Pa. Gateway Senior High School
Whitney Shaffer senior history of art Colmar, Pa. North Penn High School
Kim Skerritt sophomore political science Oak Hill, Va. Oakton High School
Michael Szeto freshman political science San Marino, Calif. Polytechnic School
Liberty Tillemann-Dick junior history of science and technology Denver, Colo. homeschooled