Barbara A. Kieft Accelerator ArtSpace – Elmhurst, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
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Barbara A. Kieft Accelerator ArtSpace

Elmhurst, Illinois

A former atom smasher turned into an art gallery.  


This one-of-a-kind art gallery is a wonderful collaboration of art and science. It displays professional and student artwork within a historic physics lab that also houses a 750,000-volt, 20-foot-tall proton accelerator.

This Cold War-era “atom smasher” was originally used for atomic weapons research at the University of Chicago. In 1969, the equipment was moved to Elmhurst College and was reconstructed over a period of four years. The accelerator was used by Elmhurst physics students for a number of years before the space started its second life as an art space. 

The Barbara A. Kieft Accelerator ArtSpace opened in 2004. It is located on the northeast side of Elmhurst College’s beautiful, directly behind the Mill Theatre.

Know Before You Go

Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Parking in the lots is for Elmhurst College students and staff others will be ticketed; free street parking is available on Walter Street.

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