Sensing Change

What do you do as an artist, as opposed to what you do as a scientist, and how do you deliver information? I’m delivering information, but I’m also talking to you about my work. I’m talking about how it works visually.Diane Burko, painter and photographer

Even among scientists, you have to be engaged at a personal level. If you make that connection with these visuals—oh, there’s something interesting and it affects me, it’s the air I’m breathing—then you’re drawn in a bit more to the conversation that way.Murray V. Johnston III, professor of chemistry, University of Delaware


What motivates artists and scientists to observe and investigate our environment? How do creative professionals in both fields make visible largely invisible processes, such as wind patterns and air quality? What methods and instruments have been used to sense shifts in our climate over time?

See our environment—its vitality and vulnerability—with fresh eyes. The art in Sensing Change invites us to consider the local, global, and cultural implications of living in our changing world by presenting new visions of the threats, opportunities, and upheavals we face. Inspired by scientific investigation, historical accounts, and direct observation, the art in this exhibit explores not only daily shifts in our environment but also long-term climate change.

We all have stories to share and observations to record about the world around us. By connecting to our local environment, what narratives do we tell? What actions do we take?  

Learn more as you watch video conversations with the artists and oral histories with atmospheric scientists, or as you explore historical context through instruments in CHF’s collections.

Jody Roberts, director of the Center for Contemporary History and Policy, explains in a video above more about how our connection to the world around us has changed—and why an exhibit like Sensing Change helps bring new context to an issue as complex as climate change. Use the arrow buttons to navigate through videos and images throughout the site.