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Chipstone Cosmos

Kiosk Software

In collaboration with The Chipstone Foundation.

Thousands of years ago, long before Astronomy and Astrology existed, people found meaning in the night sky. They saw shapes formed by the stars and associated these with their own existing myths and stories. These “Constellations” functioned as mnemonic devices, easily recognizable imagery that brought a sense of order to the revolving orientation of the sun, moon, and stars.  


Inspired by this ritual, we have located the objects shown here in the expansive night sky—think of it as the Chipstone Cosmos. Instead of seeing Orion’s Belt, we observe a star pattern that forms the outline of a graceful chair in our collection. Rather than seeing the two fish of Pisces, we see a beautifully embroidered sea monster found on a Boston card table from 1760. 


As you explore the digital version of the Chipstone Cosmos, you will see that each highlighted star is associated with a particular image or idea linked to that object. The night sky now can serve to remind us of the multiple stories associated with the material things you encounter in every gallery in this museum.  Look up at the sky and see the Chipstone Cosmos.

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