The Unseen World of Microorganisms

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History launches new installation

By Taylor Viers

Through the artistry of Jim Cogswell, a professor at U-M’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, microorganisms will be on display in colorful murals on the windows of the U-M Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor. Since the pandemic, microorganisms have migrated from natural science and medicine into the world of politics, history, and civil society. 

The new exhibit, “Unseen Worlds” aims to magnify the world of the microorganisms we can’t see with the naked eye by mirroring visitors’ movements as the vinyl elements wrap their way around the glass exterior of the building. With over 250 ink paintings of microorganisms that were transferred to a digital format to create machine-cut vinyl film, the bright elements make visible the world of the unseen. Creating a link between art and natural science, Unseen Worlds brings the fascination of the rare and exotic form of life that has made life as we know it possible on our planet.

The exhibit is open now at the U-M Museum of Natural History and will run through 2023. Admission into the museum is always free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Masks will be required when visiting. The museum is open Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm and is closed on Monday-Wednesday.

U-M Museum of Natural History:  Biological Sciences Building at 1105 N University Ave.

For more information, visit their website or call 734-764-0478.