Science and its Publics Lecture Series

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs and the Situating Science Knowledge Cluster present:

Science and its Publics Lecture Series

A multi-part series examining the roles of the public in the translation and understanding of the knowledge of science

Part 3: Provenance and the Role of the Public Museum: How the Life Stories of Artifacts Challenge Traditional Accounts of Science and History

Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 7:30pm ADT
Small Craft Gallery
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
1675 Lower Water Street
Halifax, NS
Live streamed on

Dr. David Pantalony, Curator of Physical Sciences and Medicine at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum and Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at the University of Ottawa presents a lecture on the role of the museum in translating accounts of science and history. Provenance, or the life stories of objects, is one of the foundations of collection work at a museum. It provides depth and meaning to artifacts. It can also be loaded with uncomfortable findings, potential controversy and
ethical dilemmas. Science museums have avoided these issues and potential opportunities by not investing in serious provenance research. They have preserved and presented artifacts as general types without reference to their real, material lives and histories. This situation is changing and will have a dramatic impact on how science is understood by the public.

This event marks the third part of a multi-part national series on Science and its Publics created by the Situating Science Strategic Knowledge Cluster, ( <> ) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs, ( <> ).

Respondents: Robert Bean, Professor, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Ted Cavanagh, Professor, Architecture, Dalhousie University

This presentation is supported by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Nova Scotian Institute of Science.

Free admission

Reception to follow

About the Science and its Publics Lecture Series:

“Our economy, society and daily life is increasingly shaped by science and technology, yet the juicy details of those conversations are often only heard behind the closed doors of experts.”  That’s according to Situating Science Director, Dr. Gordon McOuat, co-creator of the national Science and Its Publics lecture series. McOuat says “by looking at how scientists communicate with one another, their objects and the outside world, we might spark a dialogue about public engagement, the place of expertise, ethics and the communication of science and technology to the Canadian public.”  For more on the Lecture Series, please visit  <>

About Situating Science:

Created in 2007 with the generous funding of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Strategic Knowledge Cluster grant, Situating Science is a seven-year project promoting communication and collaboration among humanists and social scientists that are engaged in the study of science and technology. More information is available at

About CCEPA:

CCEPA is a joint venture of the Atlantic School of Theology and Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and provides an arena for critical thinking on, public discussion and research into current ethical challenges in our society.  For further information about the work we do and the types of public lectures we have presented, please visit:  <> Video
links to all their public presentations can be found there.

-Apologies for cross posting-

Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.
Emily Tector
Project Coordinator
Situating Science
University of King’s College
6350 Coburg Rd
Halifax  NS  B3H 2A1
Phone: (902) 422-1271, ext. 200
Fax: (902) 423-3357