The Alchemical Quest
“Duodecima Figura” (Figure Twelve), engraved by Matthias Merian (1593–1650), in Musaeum Hermeticum. Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library, CHF. Photo by Douglas A. Lockhart.
The Alchemical Quest, an exhibit featuring rare alchemical books of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries drawn exclusively from the collections of the Othmer Library of Chemical History, engaged visitors in an exploration of the golden age of alchemy and encouraged them to recognize alchemy as the root of modern chemistry. As the science of matter, alchemy had a wide range of applications, including metallurgy, distillation, chemical medicine, and transmutation. The exhibit also highlighted two fathers of modern science, Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton, showing their involvement during this transitional period.
CHF gratefully acknowledges the generous support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Kathryn Hach-Darrow, the Fisher Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the ExxonMobil Chemical Company for The Alchemical Quest.
This exhibit was on display from July 2, 2012, to December 31, 2012, in the Clifford C. Hach Gallery.
How is a rare-books exhibit designed and conceptualized? Find out in this video tour with curator James Voelkel.
Explore the pages of centuries-old rare books to reveal their hidden meanings.
View a slideshow of works featured in The Alchemical Quest.