ISCC Webinar with Elisabeth Berry Drago

  • 23 Jan 2024
  • 2:00 PM
  • Virtual


Registration is closed

Exploring Dye Histories in Bold: Color from Test Tube to Textile

For most of human history, textile dyes were organic: they came from plants, insects, or minerals harvested from nature. But then came synthetics—dyes made in the laboratory. The Science History Institute’s newest exhibit, “BOLD: Color from Test Tube to Textiles,” draws on rich museum collections to explore more than 150 years of synthetic color. The exhibition offers a journey through the history of science with stops at coal mines, factory floors, and fashion runways. In this talk, Bold's curator, Elisabeth Berry Drago, will take you behind the scenes to share interesting collections highlights and stories of how the exhibit came together. Berry Drago will examine the accidental origins of synthetic dyes, show how fashionable 19th century buyers caught the “mauve measles,” unpack the complicated (and sometimes toxic) legacies of color—and take a look ahead at how contemporary artisans and manufacturers are working towards a more sustainable future for fashion.


Elisabeth (Lisa) Berry Drago is a Curator and Director of Visitor Engagement at the Science History Institute. She has curated numerous exhibitions at the Institute, including Bold: Color from Test Tube to Textile (new in 2023), Things Fall Apart (2017–2018) and Age of Alchemy (2018–2021). Berry Drago is the winner of a 2018 American Alliance of Museums’ Award for Excellence. She holds a PhD in art history from the University of Delaware, specializing in the representation of science and artisanal work, and her most recent book, Painted Alchemists (Amsterdam University Press, 2019), is the first monograph on the painter Thomas Wijck (1616–1677).

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