College of Education & Human Services

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Science Center Museum 

From the most fundamental ideas of science to complicated areas within biology, chemistry, or physics, the Science Education Museum captures how integrated science education has played an important role at Western over the last 80 years. The display cases in the Science Center Museum showcase the chronology of teaching materials and equipment that were re-discovered during the 2019-2020 renovation - yielding a total of 5 science exhibits. Much like their predecessors, science education faculty continue to find new ways to engage students' in their understanding of both the processes and products of science while using the integrative approach. 

Exhibit 1: Microscopes, Metals, Agriculture, Measurement, Chemistry, Electricity & Meteorology

Several items in the first display include antique microscopes, electric generators, hydrometers, balances, a seismometer, miniature coal plant, and an aluminum sales kit from the 1940s. Notably, a Vintage Christian Becker, Inc. large scale from either the late 19th or early 20th century was used by previous science educators at the university. One of the highlights of the exhibit is the indoor motor apparatus used for various science experiments related to kinetic energy and power. 

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Exhibit 2: Rocks & Minerals

Over the years, the Science Education Center had accumulated thousands of rock and mineral samples that were used for teaching students about Earth Science. The display below showcases the most comprehensive collections of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, as well several teaching resources that encourage hands-on exploration of the Earth's lithospheric layer. Many of these "gems" were hidden away in storage, but now can be appreciated more so because of their educational display value. The rest of the collection can be found in The Rock & Mineral Room.

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Exhibit 3: Electricity, Magnetism, Chemistry & Physics 

Items in the third science exhibit include an electroscope, Van de Graff generator, volt readers & regulators, a soil study kit, various examples of electric motors & steam engines, metric measurement conversion tools, a battery tester, vintage chemistry flashcards, chemistry test kit, and molecular models.

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Exhibit 4: Western Illinois University History, Physics, & Computers 

Items in the fourth exhibit include a Geiger counter, Strobe scope, radiometers, a solar electricity kit, prisms, light bulbs, lenses, a kaleidoscope, a spectroscope, a vintage lumens gauge, a neon gas spectrum device with helium, hydrogen & nitrogen tubes, biology field books from the late 1920s, as well as original floppy disc drives from the Apple Computer Company, circa 1984. Also of significance was a Science Leaflet publication from 1935 that was signed by H. Waldo Horrabin. Prior to the construction of Horrabin Hall, Mr. Horrabin originally taught chemistry at the Normal School Academy affiliated with Western Illinois University for 36 years. The Science Leaflet was from the time when he studied Chemistry at Indiana University as a graduate student. He eventually became the Principal of the Laboratory School in 1952 and remained in that position until his retirement in 1968. Mr. Horrabin was a pivotal figure in not only designing what is now known as Horrabin Hall (where the Science Education Center is located), but also the science laboratory classrooms. Many of his teaching and architectural-type supplies (including the original blueprints for what is now the Science Education Center) were found during the renovation. A tool box with his inscribed initials was telling of his passion for "hands-on" projects. Other interesting artifacts on display include a Western Illinois University school spirit banner from the early-1930s as well as original copies of the Western  "MONG THE GENTLY ROLLING PRAIRIES"  anthem from either the 1920's or 1930's.  "Here we may not always linger, Happy school days soon must end; And, with feelings full of sorrow, Friend must bid adiou to friend. Yet they never will be forgotten, For kind memory shall onfold; Every true and loyal lover of the purple and gold. Though in the distant future; Our path lie far or near, Fond memories we will cherish; Of the happy days spent here. Then hero's long life to Western, With her future yet to mold; We'll be ever true and loyal; To the purple and Gold."  The History of Western Illinois University Laboratory School: The School of Many Names

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Exhibit 5: Globes & Maps

Teaching with globes or maps is not just for Social Studies. Many scientists and astronomers use different kinds of globes to illustrate a number of natural phenomena - including interactions of the Sun, Earth, Moon and Stars. This particular display shows examples of vintage globes that have been used in the Science Education Center over the last several decades. 

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The gigantic metal "World" globe on the left was designed around 1945 by Philip Denoyer and Otto E. Geppert of Chicago, Illinois. The Denoyer-Geppert globe was manufactured as a piece of equipment for visual demonstrations of geography, history and the biological sciences. The globe on the right is a "Wonder World" globe from 1946 designed by Reploge Globes. This globe was originally intended for elementary school children to use while learning about geography. It includes cartoon-like graphics such as airplanes, ships, Eskimos, penguins, and birds.  

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The scientific instrument on the far right is a Trippensee Tellurian Orrery Planetarium, which models for students the interactions among the Earth, Moon and Sun. These vintage instruments are fully functional with moving gears, lights, and celestial bodies; they were often used in teaching about Astronomy or Earth Science.    

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