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Vol. LXVII, No. 2
January 16, 2015
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Poster Exhibit in Bldg. 1 Showcases NIH Contributions to Medicine

Sample Bldg. 1 poster

Sample Bldg. 1 poster

Visitors to Bldg. 1 will now encounter a new exhibition of posters that highlight some of NIH’s significant contributions to medical science.

Located on the second and third floors of Bldg. 1, the exhibit features 45 posters. Some were contributed by NIH institutes and centers while others are on loan from the Office of NIH History’s DeWitt Stetten Jr. Museum of Medical Research.

Last spring, NIH deputy director for science, outreach and policy Dr. Kathy Hudson asked Dr. Kim Pelis of OD’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison and Dr. Robin Kawazoe of OD’s Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives to beautify Bldg. 1—on a minimal budget. Pelis suggested that they ask each IC for a framed poster. Kawazoe recommended asking OD offices too.

Pelis’ plan was to create a museum-style exhibit that would reflect the breadth of NIH’s contributions to research, medicine and health.

“Every poster represents something unique about each contributing institute, center or office. As a collection, they tell the story of NIH—who we are; what we do,” said Hudson.

John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison, then asked the communication directors from each IC to submit one poster that represented an aspect of their identity. He also noted that each poster must speak for itself because there would be no captions.

Over the summer, Pelis received almost three dozen posters representing most of the ICs and several OD offices. Around the same time, the Stetten Museum’s exhibition content developer Hank Grasso offered to help arrange the exhibit.

Grasso chose locations for each poster. Where possible, he placed them near Bldg. 1 offices linked in some way to the IC or program featured in each poster. In the absence of such links to the featured research, other visual design criteria took precedence, including color, illustration/typographic/organizational style or size. He also sought to balance the content by interspersing clinical or behavioral posters with basic science posters.

The new posters can be found on Bldg. 1’s second and third floors and feature the accomplishments of NIH’s institutes, centers and offices. The new posters can be found on Bldg. 1’s second and third floors and feature the accomplishments of NIH’s institutes, centers and offices.

The new posters can be found on Bldg. 1’s second and third floors and feature the accomplishments of NIH’s institutes, centers and offices.

Photos: Bill Branson

Grasso also observed that the posters communicate important issues in health and science and increase public awareness of NIH’s contributions to research and medicine. He acknowledged that it’s not possible to represent the full array of contributions made by any one of the institutes or centers with a single poster.

“It is this conundrum that helps to illustrate NIH’s embarrassment of riches—each and every day, extraordinary findings here alter the landscape of scientific research,” Grasso said. “It would be easy to dismiss any installation of posters as a ‘wall decoration’ of little critical importance. However, with the installation of this collection of posters, few visitors to Bldg. 1 will emerge without a greater sense of the array of accomplishments that may be attributed to NIH’s ICs.”

Pelis noted that the ICs will periodically be given an opportunity to change their posters.—Eric Bock


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