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Museum review: The Canary Project

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Lost in the shuffle amongst the droids, Darth Vaders and Storm Troopers stands a modest exhibit at the MSI that represents an interesting and dynamic approach to the issue of global warming. With more than twenty poignant photographs on hand, “The Canary Project” isn’t meant to scare the wits out of you, but rather give a tangible visual representation of the effects of global warming and what people are doing to try to deter the process. The name represents the efforts of the husband-and-wife team Edward Morris and Susannah Saylor in their attempt to be like canaries, which warn of deadly methane levels. The strength of the exhibit is in this underlying philosophy; it is simply a caution with perhaps a silver lining that lies within the recent efforts of many. Split in two halves, as it is separated by the main concourse of the museum, one half is dedicated to the silver lining—the recent efforts in attempts to halt the problem. On the other side lie photos showing its devastating effects. The photos were taken from all over the world, including some from our own back yard, with the green roof at Chicago’s City Hall standing as one example. Elsewhere, there is a photo of a solar teapot in China, which warms the water using only solar energy. Inversely, one can see photographs of melting glaciers in Austria in addition to disrupted barrier reefs in Belize. The photos of the destruction are as chilling as the photos of the efforts in adapting to the climate changes are hopeful. What this exhibit lacks in size, it compensates by simply offering exquisite photos with some worthwhile additional information instead of solely overwhelming with scientific information. A very stark and simple gallery, indeed, but it leaves a lasting impact that perhaps should change the perspective of many. (Thomas Barbee)

“The Canary Project” runs at the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Drive, (773)684-1414, through February 27, 2008.

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