Exploring Plants at Ropes Mansion (Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

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On May 27, 2017 the Art & Nature Center at the Peabody Essex Museum hosted a Foldscope and Origami Flower Workshop at the Ropes Mansion, one of the historic properties owned by the Museum. This 18th century property is home to a beautiful garden in which we host special programs periodically throughout the summer, and this particular event was made possible by the Ropes Mansion Botanical Lecture Fund.

Visitors were encouraged to explore the Ropes Mansion and garden with a Foldscope, and learn how to make origami flowers with master artists Michael LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander, of Origamido Studio in Haverill, MA. We thought this would be a wonderful art and science collaboration, as visitors were introduced to the origami-based microscope, learned about the parts of a flower, prepared their own slides of various flower parts to examine in the Foldscope, and created origami blooms inspired by their findings.

Visitors were fascinated by the Foldscopes and were able to examine flower petals, sepals, and stamens closely. Overall it was a wonderful program, and we hope to use the Foldscopes in future programs at the Museum soon.

Here are some photos captured from the program:

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(Visitors gather at Ropes Mansion for the Foldscope and Origami Flower Workshop)

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(Visitors of all ages explore the Foldscope)

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(Holding the Foldscopes up to the light to see the slides of flower parts)

Sepal

(Image of flower sepal through Foldscope)

Stamen

(Image of flower stamen through Foldscope)

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(Simple Flower Origami inspired by the blooming garden)

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(Richard L. Alexander helps a young boy with his origami creation)

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(Michael LaFosse shows off a tiny origami heron as inspiration for visitors to investigate art and nature all around them)

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