A Century of Science and Service first opened at the Herbert D. Doan Midland County History Center in May 2019, and a revised and greatly expanded version of the exhibit opened at the Central Michigan University Museum in September 2022.

Origin of the Centennial Exhibit

In 2017, visionary members of the ACS-Midland Section began to conceptualize what their centennial observance would look like. They secured the right to host the 2019 ACS Central Regional Meeting (CERM) and began to build partnerships with groups that could support an exhibition that would both commemorate and interpret the contributions of Midland Section members. That effort ultimately built connections with multiple specialists in museum exhibition and educational programming, including the Midland Center for the Arts, the Herbert D. Doan Midland County History Center, the Museum Studies Program at Central Michigan University, and the Good Design Group.

The result of the hard work of these groups is an exhibit that opened at the Doan Midland County History Center on May 11, 2019. Associated educational programming was also available. This installation of the exhibit closed in December 2019, but a virtual version was preserved online through this website and remains accessible today. 

Original Exhibit Contents

The exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Midland Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 1919. Each of the seven sections of the exhibit focuses on different topics concerning the section’s history, members, and endeavors. Interpretive films and digital kiosks provided interactive opportunities in the original installation of this exhibit. Sheets for two scavenger hunts were also available, designed to engage younger visitors.   

The Introduction section of the exhibit gives a general overview of the Midland Section of the ACS and the centennial exhibit. The History section discusses how the organization was formed, how it matured, and how it has adapted to challenges since its founding. The Communication section outlines the various ways ACS members have shared information and socialized, and how the ability to collaborate remains an important aspect of chemistry. The Leadership and Awards section discusses the structure of the Midland Section in terms of leadership and the honors earned by the section and its members. 

Courtesy of Marcia Dilling and Regina Malczewski.

The Unintended Consequences section documents how ethics and environmental responsibility remain essential parts of the ACS and chemistry as a whole. In the section entitled People, Products, Processes, Patents, and Tools, there is a discussion of how chemists conduct research, make new discoveries, protect their work through the law, and share data with the scientific community and the general public. This section also highlights four important products in Section history and features hands-on materials for molecule-building. Lastly, the Education, Outreach, and the Future section summarizes how public outreach, teaching, and chemistry advocacy have evolved in the Midland Section over time and continue to influence section activities and values.  

Courtesy of Marcia Dilling and Regina Malczewski.

2022 Exhibit Installation

In 2020, work began at the Central Michigan Museum to prepare a space to install A Century of Science and Service on its campus location. This involved remodeling parts of the Museum main gallery and upcycling construction materials during this process to minimize the project’s environmental footprint. Students, staff, and faculty alike contributed to this work, the process of which was documented through continuous updates to the blog on this website.

Progress on this new installation took a unique shape and speed due to measures taken to protect all involved from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, masks were worn for the majority of the construction process and social distancing was practiced during parts of the project. However, virtual meetings between collaborating members of the Midland Section, the CMU Museum, and the Good Design group allowed a new iteration of the centennial exhibit to steadily take shape and work continued through even the most intense days of the pandemic.

Several new elements were added to the exhibit in its second installation. This version of the exhibit featured new displays centered on the electron microscope and chemistry sets, assembled with the assistance of students at the CMU Museum. Students also contributed to STEAM educational programming which complemented the exhibit. Additionally, interactive augmented reality (AR) panels attached to the exhibit’s “tower” replaced the suspended models of molecules to provide visitors with the opportunity to explore and examine virtual models from all angles using a mobile device. A panel discussing the Midland Section’s activities during the pandemic was also added to the signage of the exhibit.

The new installation of A Century of Science and Service officially opened on September 22, 2022, with American Chemical Society President Dr. Angela K. Wilson featured as a speaker during the grand opening celebration. As a major exhibit, this installation is expected to remain at the CMU Museum for the next few years.

Sites interested in hosting this exhibit in the future are encouraged to contact ACS exhibit committee head Regina Malczewski at reginamalczewski@gmail.com.