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 2016, visionary members of the ACS-Midland Section began to conceptualize what their centennial observance would look like. They had secured the right to host the 2019 ACS Central Regional Meeting (CERM) and began to build partnerships with groups that could support a historical exhibit that would both commemorate and interpret the contributions of Midland Section members. That effort ultimately resulted in 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 Good Design LLC.

As a result of all this hard work, the ACS centennial exhibit opened at the Doan Midland County Historical Center on May 11, 2019. Associated educational programming was also available through the rest of the year.

The exhibit closed in December 2019 and was moved to storage owned by the Central Michigan University Museum. A new installation of “A Century of Science and Service,” with some changes, re-opened at Rowe Hall on the CMU campus on September 22, 2022, and is now open for public visits. An FAQ about hours and content is available here, and further details are listed later in this description. A virtual version of the 2019 installation of this exhibit was also preserved online through this website and remains accessible today. 

2019 Exhibit Installation

The exhibit as a whole celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Midland Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 1919. Each of the seven sections focuses on a different topic concerning the section’s history, members, and endeavors.

The 2019 installation of this exhibit included a cartoon video that showed “A Day Without Chemistry”, and digital kiosks provided opportunities to explore the Section or Centennial websites. Puzzles were also available to engage visitors, potentially for prizes. 

The main parts of the exhibit are the same in 2022 as in 2019.  They are as follows:

Introduction: The beginnings of National ACS and the importance of chemistry.

History: How the local Section was formed, evolved, and how it has adapted to challenges since its founding. 

Communication: How Local Section activities provided social interaction as well as opportunities for scientific exchange, and the various ways its members still collaborate and inform.

Leadership and Awards: The caliber of Midland Section leadership, and its contribution beyond the local level; some of the honors earned by the Section and its members. 

Unintended Consequences: Challenging issues related to local chemistry; the importance of ethics and environmental responsibility to ACS and the practice of chemistry as a whole. 

People, Products, Processes, Patents, and Tools: The roles and importance of each of these topics and the contributions of local members in these areas; how chemists conduct research, make new discoveries, protect their work, and share data with the scientific community and the general public. Four important products invented by Local Section members are highlighted and materials are provided for molecule-building. 

Education, Outreach and the Future: The impact that public outreach, teaching, and chemistry advocacy by Local Section has had on our local communities.

Courtesy of Marcia Dilling and Regina Malczewski.
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 Good Design LLC 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 an 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.