Montshire Celebrates 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
The Montshire Museum of Science is excited to announce special programming to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus. Through her seminal work, Shelley sparked the imaginations of generations who question the balance of human creativity, societal responsibility, and scientific ethics.
Across the globe, organizations are doing their part to honor this 200-year-old story, from international literary projects such as Frankenreads to statewide efforts like Indiana Humanities’ One State / One Story: Frankenstein. In the months ahead, the Montshire will host its own set of programs in participation with Frankenstein200, a science education initiative that aims to highlight relevant themes of Frankenstein, including responsible innovation, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering.
Montshire Unleashed: Frankenstein’s Montshire
On January 12, the Montshire will host its regular after hours evening for adults, but this time with a nod to Frankenstein. The evening’s activities will include a Science Discovery Lab experiment that explores themes from the book, as well as a scavenger hunt for #frankensteinsmontshire. This event is sponsored by Mascoma Savings Bank.
Frankenstein’s Tinkering Lab (Maker Program)
On January 15, the Montshire will spend the day making Frankenstuffies. Program participants will learn how to solder and sew and use those skills to reimagine and rearrange an ordinary stuffed toy or doll until it looks like something that came straight out of a science fiction story.
Montshire Talks: Frankenstein200
This March, the Montshire’s annual lecture series surveys the philosophy of science, artificial intelligence, how popular culture evolves a modern myth, and Mary Shelley’s lasting influence on the questions: What is life? Why do we create? and What are our responsibilities as creators, scientists, and engineers?
Tuesday, March 6, 6:30pm
Frankenstein and the Philosophy of Science, featuring Michael Ashooh
From a philosopher’s perspective, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein operates on several levels: a philosophical exploration of what it means to be human and the nature of moral responsibility, the nature of science and scientific knowledge—at a pivotal and transitional moment in the history of science—and of the role of the scientist in society. Contextualizing these philosophical and scientific issues helps us see Frankenstein as a fascinating and provocative exploration of questions about human nature and the human condition, the quest for knowledge, and the nature of moral responsibility. Dr. Michael Ashooh specializes in the philosophy of science and explores the context in which Frankenstein was written, and the lasting scientific and moral questions raised by this modern myth.
Tuesday, March 13, 6:30pm
Finding Frankenstein: In Search of Mary Shelley, featuring Amanda Rafuse
Who was Mary Shelley, and how did she compose a myth that would inspire the ages? Finding Frankenstein: In Search of Mary Shelley, a play written by Dawn Brodey and Tim Barrett for the Bakkan Museum, explores the complicated past and legacy of Mary Shelley and the questions her work has sparked for generations. Northern Stage’s Associate Director Amanda Rafuse presents a dramatic reading of this museum theater piece that delves into the life and times of Mary Shelley.
Tuesday, March 20, 2 & 6:30pm, Rauner Library (RESERVATION REQUIRED)
Frankenstein in Text and Image, featuring Morgan Swan
Dr. Frankenstein's creation wasn’t always the big, green monster our imaginations conjure up. How did Mary Shelley’s text inspire artists and writers throughout time? Take a field trip to the Rauner Library on Dartmouth College Campus to explore the first illustrated edition of the Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works that inspired it. See how the image and text of Frankenstein changed over the last 200 years with Dr. Morgan Swan, Special Collections Education & Outreach Librarian.
Tuesday, March 27, 6:30pm
Artificial Intelligence and Responsible Design, featuring Eugene Santos
In Frankenstein, a creature comes to life to terrorize his creator’s family. What happens when the creature is no longer flesh and bone, but an algorithm? Artificial intelligence is a technology that is advancing at a rapid rate and is helping to speed up innovations around the world. What happens when humans are no longer at the helm of complicated decision making processes? Dr. Eugene Santos, professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, explores what exactly artificial intelligence is and can do, and the implications of this technology on society.
Frankenstein200 is a national research project led by Arizona State University and funded by the National Science Foundation that uses Mary Shelley’s enduring tale of creation and responsibility to foster interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in informal settings. Frankenstein200 is an integrated transmedia experience designed to inspire deeper understanding, ability, and engagement with science-in-society topics.
About Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Through classic movies, Halloween costumes, comic book adaptations, and breakfast cereals, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years. The idea for the novel was sparked by a ghost story competition among famous authors in 1816, when Shelley was just 18 years old. Published on January 1, 1818, the thrilling tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature has never been out of print, and is currently the most-assigned novel in university courses. Its themes of innovation and its consequences remain relevant in our technological age, as we grapple with the effects of stunning advances in medicine, computing, and engineering.