Q: What will visitors to Age of Alchemy be able to see? What should they take away from the experience?
A: Visitors will see a lot of paintings! Our museum holds one of the largest and finest thematic collections of alchemical art in the world. They’ll be immersed in images of laboratories—and these laboratories won’t look likecontemporary lab spaces, which are imagined as very sterile and clean. The laboratories and workshops in the paintings are very cluttered and busy, which for a long time made people interpret them as dirty spaces or spaces where the experiments have failed. But sometimes clutter just means process. It’s a sign of a creative mind, an experimental mind, at work. I hope visitors will come away with a sense that alchemical practice is much more compelling—and much more real and practical—than they imagined. Visitors will also see some objects from our collection that highlight the kind of material world that alchemists inhabited.