Upstate News

March 23, 2003
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Frankenstein exhibition opens at SUNY Upstate April 2

A traveling exhibition featuring photos of artifacts and other oddities surrounding one of the most enduring myths of the Western world — Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein — will begin a six-week stay at SUNY Upstate Medical University April 2. The free exhibition will be on display through May 16, in the university’s Health Sciences Library, located in Weiskotten Hall, 766 Irving Avenue, Syracuse.

“In 1818 Mary Shelley used the manipulation of the biological process to create one of literature’s most storied characters,” said Kathleen Hughes, Ph.D., a research librarian who is organizing the exhibit at SUNY Upstate. “Now, nearly 200 years since Shelley’s book was first read, Frankenstein is seen by some as a symbolic of what can go wrong when the medical and scientific communities of our day explore the boundaries between human and artificial life and death.”

The exhibition, “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature,” will feature artifacts associated with resuscitating the nearly dead from the early 19th century, early efforts at blood transfusion, and other attempts to reanimate dead bodies. Other parts of the exhibition will feature posters, books, comics and cartoons illustrating people’s fears, and hopes of medical science.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a public lecture on the Frankenstein mystique and its relationship to the field of science and medicine will be offered April 16 by Deirdre Neilen, Ph.D., associate professor in SUNY Upstate’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities. The lecture will be held at noon in the Medical Alumni Auditorium of Weiskotten Hall.

Additionally, local schools and libraries are using the exhibition as a context to discuss medical ethics and the novel by Shelley.

Accompanying the exhibit is a display of printed material from the Health Sciences Library collection documenting the late 19th-century fascination with electricity as a rejuvenating and healing phenomenon. The display is compiled by Eric Luft, Ph.D., SUNY Upstate historian.

The National Library of Medicine and the American Library Association organized the traveling exhibition with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Library of Medicine.

Exhibition hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, from noon to 1 a.m.

For more information on the Frankenstein exhibition, call 464-7200.

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