An exhibition on the history of protein science has opened in Copenhagen. Situated in the main building of the Faculty of Health Sciences, ‘Primary
Substances: Treasures From the History of Protein Research’ is Medical Museion’s first major extramural exhibition.
The exhibit displays some 85 objects from the history of 20th century protein research, some quite unique, like S.P.L. Sorensen’s bottles containing
indicators for colorimetric acid-base titraton, Arne Tiselius’s original electrophoretic apparatus, a hemoglobin model built by Michael Rossman in
painted balsa wood, Kjeldahl’s original destillation equipment, the first ampoules for insulin standardisation, a large home-made model of the enzyme subtilisin-
Carlsberg, early enzymatic laundry detergents, etc.
‘Primary Substances’ not only displays cultural treasures found in museum collections, but also personal treasures, i.e., objects still in the custody of
individual researchers. The concept of ‘treasures’ thus bridges the social/historical/cultural and individual/biographical/existential dimensions of
Like earlier exhibitions (‘Oldetopia’, ‘Design4Science’, ‘Split+Splice’, etc) at Medical Museion, ‘Primary Substances’ is experimenting with the delicate
balance between presence and meaning effects in three-dimensional history of science settings.
The exhibit highlights the aesthetic impact of the material objects and makes the textual content less intrusive, while still providing a high level of accurate
scientific information and historical context for those who are looking for it. The exhibit reflects the museum’s new policy to work closer together with
faculty and students in the health sciences and with employees in hospitals and pharma/biotech/medical device companies.
See a short presentation of the exhibit and some pics here:
‘Primary Substances’ closes by the end of December 2009.
For further information, please contact:
Professor, History of Medicine
Director, Medical Museion
University of Copenhagen