Our latest outdoor exhibition explores the intersections of environmentalism, education, and fun with board games from the 1970s.
On view through October 2023
Sewage, smog, and species both invasive and endangered.
Drawn from new acquisitions, Playing Dirty explores the boom of environmentally themed board games, role-playing simulations, and learning tools in the 1970s, a time of increased environmental awareness among the public.
By the start of the decade, we’d heard about the dangers of pollutants in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. On the news, we’d seen oil covering the beaches of Santa Barbara, California. And in Washington, the federal government established the Environmental Protection Agency.
The games on display show how those environmental concerns spread to dining room tables and classroom desks through the act of play.
Playing Dirty features large-scale reproductions installed on the façade of the Institute’s building at 315 Chestnut Street in Old City Philadelphia.
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Environmental Board Games
Educational board games focused on water, pollution, and climate.
The marine biologist’s book Silent Spring marked a turning point in society’s understanding of the environment.