Local Artist’s Photographs on Display in Gustavus Geology MuseumKay Helms' photographs are currently on display in the Chester Johnson Geology Museum in the Nobel Hall of Science.
Posted on October 13th, 2016 by

Photographs by local artist Kay Helms are currently on display in the Chester Johnson Geology Museum.

An exhibition of photographs by local artist Kay Helms is currently on display in Gustavus Adolphus College’s Chester Johnson Geology Museum, located on the first floor of the Nobel Hall of Science.

And why is art being displayed in a College geology museum? Because liberal arts learning often lies at the intersection of different disciplines, Gustavus geology and environmental studies professor Laura Triplett says.

“I am a trained and experienced scientist, and I’m passionate about my work. But I know that there are other ways of knowing things, important things. Like why do I care about the things I do? Why do I find so much inner peace when I’m in a beautiful natural place?” she explained.

“Art can help us understand our place in the world in a way that science alone perhaps cannot. I think combining both in one space can bring us a deeper understanding of each,” Triplett continued. “And that’s what the liberal arts are about – bringing our whole selves, our full capacity for understanding, to bear on the world’s toughest challenges.”

Most recently presented as part of a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit about water at the Nicollet County Historical Society, Helms’ photos include a series capturing Triplett and her team of research students collecting samples to measure water quality in the Seven Mile Creek watershed.

In Helms’ artist statement, she writes:

In my search for photographs, ideas, and information about water the past two years, I have become convinced that we, as the people of the planet Earth, must cultivate a love and sense of wonder regarding water and that we need to expand and live by a code of ethics to protect and honor water. There is not an infinite supply of water. What we have now is all we will ever have. We come from water, we depend on water, we die without water.

Many people and organizations are doing wonderful work to protect our water rights. But many people and organizations continue to do things to pollute, degrade, and exhaust our water supply. With my photography and writing, I hope to engage people in water issues so that they will be more aware of their own impact on water quality and usage, as well as to encourage an appreciation and respect for water itself.

The Chester Johnson Geology Museum is free and open to the public for self-guided tours Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is staffed by student docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To learn more about geology at Gustavus, visit the departmental website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad



  1. Jim Muyres says:

    Great idea….


  2. Channy says:

    Congratulations, Kay! The best spirit. Important things to say. Great combination of ideas!
    You make beautiful, clear photographs.