Original Putnam exhibit aims to break down chemistry and its hidden history


DAVENPORT, IOWA (November 13, 2019) — The Putnam’s next exhibit will shine a spotlight on the basic building blocks of our universe using chemistry’s iconic key, the periodic table of elements, and show visitors the surprising and quirky ways chemical elements shape the world around us.

OMg! Elements of Surprise is an original Putnam exhibit, set to open Saturday, November 16. The interactive exhibit will be included with general admission and remain open through 2020 at the Putnam, the Quad Cities’ Smithsonian Affiliate museum.

Elements of Surprise commemorates 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table, which marks 150 years since the periodic table of elements was published.

“It’s incredible to think just 118 chemical elements make up everything from the air we breathe, to the water we drink, every man-made object, and even our own bodies,” Putnam President/CEO Rachael Mullins said.

“In this weird and wonderful exhibit, visitors will discover the surprising ways atoms connect everything in our universe through hands-on features and unbelievable stories your teacher didn’t tell you in Chemistry class.”

Sponsored by Arconic Foundation, the exhibit shares the history of our understanding of chemistry, as well as how elements connect to STEM fields today and everyday life.

Visitors can become chemists by creating molecular compounds using molecule modelling kits and by setting off virtual chemical reactions as part of the interactive exhibits.

Each Saturday, a Putnam educator will demonstrate different chemical reactions and other science experiments in the exhibit’s “Don’t Try This At Home” Theater space. Groups may also book demonstrations during their visit for a small fee.

Exhibit admission is included in the price of general admission — $9 for adults, $8 for youth (ages 3-18), seniors, college students and military. Admission is free for members.

For more information, visit www.putnam.org/elements. For groups, or to plan your visit, call 563-324-1933.


About the Putnam

The Putnam has been inspiring ideas, dialogue, and interaction among people of all ages for more than 150 years. And today, we’re better than ever with hands-on fun for the whole family. Launch rockets or interact with a robot in the Science Center, “touch the untouchable” in the Augmented Reality Experience, visit our famous mummies in Unearthing Ancient Egypt, climb into a tree house in Black Earth | Big River, or go back in time to see our region’s history in River, Prairie, and People. Also experience internationally-recognized traveling exhibits or take in a movie in the GIANT Screen Theater with a screen towering six-stories tall. Our welcoming team is dedicated to helping you discover and explore in a friendly and engaging place.

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