Lynx Open Ed Blog

Graduate Education & Galileo’s World

Brent Purkaple giving a tour

by Brent Purkaple; reposted from 


As a graduate student and research assistant I have had the opportunity to work as a co-curator in a major rare book exhibition at the University of Oklahoma, the Galileo’s World exhibition. Officially launched in Fall 2015, the exhibition was designed to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of the University of Oklahoma. As a representation of the institutional nature of the exhibition, the various exhibits were spread throughout all 3 OU campuses, with books selected at each location that would help the particular location tell its story. The rare books themselves served as historical proxies that could open up forgotten relationships. The overarching theme uniting all exhibitions was “bringing worlds together”, which was intended to convey the way in which the various exhibits would help various academic departments and locations on campus recognize their forgotten, intertwined history, bringing forgotten worlds together.


OU Bizzell Library, 5th Floor Exhibit Hall


You can read more about the exhibit using the following links:

Lynx Open Ed at the Domains 2017 conference

Domains 2017

by Brent Purkaple and Kerry Magruder

We are thrilled to be participating yesterday and today in "Domains 2017: Indie EdTech and Other Curiosities," a conference sponsored by OU's Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), and Reclaim Hosting, the moving force behind "A Domain of One's Own" (Conference website).  In our proposal for an exhibition booth, we indulged in some word play with "domain" and "reclaim":

The History of Science Collections contains nearly 100,000 volumes from every field and subject area of science, technology and medicine ranging from the time of printing in the fifteenth century to current publications. Initially a physical domain reserved for elite scholars, OU Libraries has recently transferred the books into the public domain. Reclaiming the identity of a public research library, visitors from all over the world daily experience the History of Science Collections, either physically or digitally. 

Come experience the transformation of OU Libraries with Galileo’s World, and take part in the democratization of knowledge. Participants will be invited to actively answer four questions as they participate in the booth. 1) What is Galileo’s World? 2) How are those books released into the digital domain? 3) In what ways is this transforming the public domain? 4) How can I add Galileo’s World to my own domain?

Here's an outline of how we organized our exhibition booth:

Lynx Academy (May-June 2017)

Lynx Academy

During May and June we partnered with the OKC Metropolitan Library for the maiden voyage of the Lynx Open Ed Academy, our off-site K-12 education program. Over the course of about a month we put on 3 different programs at the following libraries:

Edmond Library

Capitol Hill Library (though the program was off-site at Shidler Elementary library)

Belle Isle Library

During the program we showed the kids the facsimile of Galileo’s Starry Messenger 

GW Facsimile

Followed by an activity simulating the basic idea of a telescope using concave and convex lenses.

GW Lenses

We then learned about the constellations and the night sky by using a Celestial Globe, Constellation Cards, as well as a Planisphere.

EPSCoR Women and Science event

OU Lynx at EPSCoR
Lynx Open Ed at EPSCoR

Lynx Open Ed was privileged to participate for the third year in a row in the annual Women and Science conference for K12 students and teachers across the state.  Held last Tuesday in Tulsa, the conference is sponsored by EPSCoR to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields (cf. the conference page).

Brent and Kerry set up two booths with hands-on activities exploring STEM in the world of Galileo.  We were told to expect about 900 middle-school and high-school female students, along with their teachers, to drop by our booths during the all-day event.  What fun!

Color the ConstellationsColor the Constellations
Color the Constellations

The Urania's Mirror constellation cards, published in 1825, were "designed by a lady."  We have previously featured these as OERs and at a Lynx Coloring Party. 

Scientific Revolution - Chat with the Curators Walking Tour

Schusterman Library, OU Tulsa campus
Schusterman Library, OU-Tulsa

On September 8, on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library in Norman, about 30 guests participated in a Walking Tour for the OU Tulsa reprise exhibit, "The Scientific Revolution." As advertised at

In this "Chat with the Curators" event, come explore a reprise of The Scientific Revolution exhibit, which was originally on display at the Schusterman Library on the OU-Tulsa campus as part of last year's Galileo's World exhibition.  In this walking tour, Kerry Magruder (Curator of Galileo's World) and Stewart Brower (Director, Schusterman Library) will discuss The Scientific Revolution, both the books now on display again for a two-month rotation, as well as the collaboration between the two campuses that made possible the original exhibit in Tulsa.

During the walk-through, we touched base on each book displayed, both for its own sake and why it was sent to Tulsa.  Everyone gained a new appreciation for the Schusterman and its mission from the discussion of how the exhibit fit in with the Schusterman and its setting in the University and in the Tulsa community.  

The evening featured a back-and-forth dialogue between participants and those involved in curating and producing the exhibit:  Stewart Brower and Katie Prentice (both from the Schusterman Library), David Davis (Head of Exhibits, OU Libraries), James Burnes, Brent Purkaple, Stu Ryan and JoAnn Palmeri from OU Libraries. JoAnn spoke on Shakespeare events, Brent described educational outreach, Stu discussed some of the instruments, and David talked about the instrument replicas from the Museo Galileo.  

Saturday Brown-Bag for educators and docents


We're really excited about our first Brown-Bag this Saturday, as it signals a new focus for us on collaboration with educators and prospective docents.

This roughly monthly Saturday brown-bag series is intended for both educators and prospective docents.  The brown-bags will feature the opportunity to participate in activities related to the exhibit. Feedback from educators will help us refine them for use in their classroom situations; docents will gain confidence in using them on guided tours.  Here's more about what to expect, from our group at

Also, please share this message with any educators or prospective docents who might wish to learn more about the OU Lynx and our educational outreach.

Would you be willing to help us broadcast a call for docents?  If you know any friends who have an enthusiasm for learning and sharing with others who might be interested in serving as a docent for Galileo’s World, would you let them know we’re interested in talking with them? Just send them a link to this blog post in an email, or send them to, or have them call us at 405/325-2760.  In addition, I’m more than willing to come to any civic or church group to explain Galileo’s World and to answer questions about the docent program.

Here’s a page on this Lynx Open Ed site about docents, with links to what docents do and how to become one: docents

As soon as we have half-a-dozen or so prospective docents, we’ll organize a docent training program:  training

Meanwhile, we encourage any prospective docent or educator to register as a member on the OU Lynx website: members

Thanks so much, and I hope to see you again soon.


Last chance to see Museo Galileo instruments

A "chat with the curators" walking tour for "The Scientific Revolution," the first rotating display of the Galileo's World Reprise exhibit, will take place Thursday Sept 8, 7:00-8:30 pm, Bizzell Library, 5th floor.  More info at

This event will be the final opportunity to see the Museo Galileo instrument replicas before they are returned to Florence!  We thank the Museo Galileo for partnering with us on the Galileo's World exhibit.  This partnership included displaying 5 instrument replicas:  Galileo's telescope, microscope, thermoscope, and engineering compass, as well a 16th century polyhedral sundial.  These replicas, displayed in 5 different locations last year, will be removed from the Exhibit Reprise after this event to be packaged and shipped back to the Museo Galileo.

Stewart Brower, Director of the Schusterman Library in Tulsa, will join us for this event!  He and I will dialogue during the walking tour. We will share a video clip of Galileo himself appearing at a Schusterman event, interrupting my walking tour there last February!

Two new "featured OERs" on the Lynx Open Ed site relate to books in the Scientific Revolution rotating display!  See the home page, top center.  Both of these OERs feature books from the Women and Science top ten tour. Both were on display in the Tulsa exhibit at the Schusterman Library. Both are being digitized in their entirety (as are all of the 350 books that were displayed).

Coloring Party update

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Constellation Coloring Party last Saturday! (out of the more than 50 people who came to the Collections that day).  Brent tweeted some pictures here: @oulynx.  Particular thanks go to those who came from beyond the central metro area, from as far away as Durant, Woodward, and Lawton!  That took special effort!

Brown-Bag lunch: Art, Music and Astronomy

An open letter to all educators...  We're looking forward to some Saturday brown-bag lunches where we’ll practice some of our learning activities in a hands-on way in which everyone can participate:

This brown-bag series should be a lot of fun as well as practical and informative.  It’s the ideal way for educators to experience the Galileo’s World exhibit.  The fall schedule is here: 

Would you mind sharing this event with any educators you think might be interested?  Thanks for helping us spread the word!

We are continuing to work on many educational resources related to Galileo’s World and are looking to collaborate with educators through the “OU Academy of the Lynx”:  
Our events are publicized at (thanks for joining our group there!).  

Kerry Magruder and Brent Purkaple


Duochord Shot


Education and outreach award

OU Libraries has been honored with an Exhibition Outreach award from the Oklahoma Museums Association (news release).

With the launch of the Galileo's World exhibit, the OU History of Science Collections initiated an educational outreach organization, the "OU Academy of the Lynx," to work collaboratively with educators in exhibit-based learning.

Through the "OU Lynx," the History of Science curator and his graduate assistants have begun to work with educators in the Norman area, and across the state and in Texas, attending educator conferences and workshops and hosting class visits. Approximately 30 K12 classes and 50 undergraduate classes last year received docent-led tours of Galileo's World at the OU Libraries, not counting classes which toured the Sam Noble and Fred Jones museums and other Galileo's World locations.