The Smithsonian’s new exhibit Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910 opened on July 01, 2015. In addition to the physical exhibit, the Smithsonian Libraries provide an online version.
From the online exhibit description:
“Travel with us to the surface of the moon, the center of the earth, and the depths of the ocean — to the fantastic worlds of fiction inspired by 19th-century discovery and invention.
“New frontiers of science were emerging. We took to the air, charted remote corners of the earth, and harnessed the power of steam and electricity. We began unlocking the secrets of the natural world. The growing literate middle class gave science a new and avid public audience. Writers explored the farther reaches of the new scientific landscape to craft novels, hoaxes, and satires.”
The online exhibit reveals a new thematic component (or chapter) each Tuesday. So far we’ve seen “Terra Incognita” and The Age of the Aeronaut”. The chapters include images, maps, and videos, plus intriguing curator’s notes. Sounds great for early science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts, as well as people interested in the history of exploration or late 1700s to 1800s.
Out There is an occasional feature highlighting intriguing art, spaces, places, phenomena, flora, and fauna.