Women of Science in Second Life

Women of Science History Museum
Women of Science History Museum

Tucked into a little corner of Second Life, and easily overlooked, is the Women of Science History Museum. I first visited it in early October, after noting it featured as an Editor’s Pick in the Destination Guide, but it’s taken me a little while to sit down and write about it!

Occupying a modest garden offering a place for visitors to sit as chat, the museum is curated by Elliot (LadyAngelDust), and occupies a three storey structure to one side of the garden. Inside is a selection of informative biographies of some of the women who have contributed to our understanding of the sciences over the years.

Women of Science History Museum
Women of Science History Museum

It’s an eclectic and diverse group; some will be familiar to many – Hypatia (355-415 ce), Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) and Marie Curie (1867-1934) to name three – while others may be less well-known, such as Mary Sherman Morgan (1921-2004) and Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997), with a total of twelve women from history represented across the three floors of the museum.

Each woman is represented by a display which includes props representing their field, photographs and a biography – the latter of which can also be obtained in note card form by clicking on the gold star alongside their names.

Women of Science History Museum
Women of Science History Museum

Wisely, they are not presented by science background or in chronological order (although the second floor exclusively features women born in the 20th century). This encourages fully exploration through the museum, which leads visitors up to the upper floor and a teleporter sitting in a corner.  This provides access to the planetarium and the biographies of four more women, including a personal heroine of mine, Claudia Alexander.

There is perhaps a slight bias towards American women evident at times, particularly in the planetarium section, where it would have been nice to see someone like Nicole-Reine Lepaute recognised. I also felt it a shame that Mary Anning, who was denied proper recognition for her ground-breaking work in palaeontology during he own lifetime, is not included. But these are minor niggles, and it’s fair to say there are a lot of women who might justifiably be included, but the museum only has so much space. Certainly as minor critiques, they do not detract from the fact the museum does make for an informative visit, and is fully deserving in being recognised as a DG Editor’s Pick.

Women of Science History Museum
Women of Science History Museum

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