In the mid-nineteenth century, microscopy became immensely popular with European and American naturalists. As microscopes became more affordable, microscopy societies were established, and numerous microscopy journals were launched and widely distributed. Many microscopy publications were richly illustrated, trying to recreate the “world of wonder and beauty” seen through the microscope.
To this day, so many nineteenth-century publications on microscopy remain that they can hardly be analyzed by just a handful of historians. Therefore, the MUSTS research group at Maastricht University launched Worlds of Wonder, an online crowdsourcing project, on the Zooniverse citizen science platform. The MUSTS researchers behind Worlds of Wonder, Lea Beiermann, Cyrus Mody and Raf De Bont, ask citizen scientists to help them classify nineteenth-century microscopy illustrations, assign keywords to the illustrations to make them searchable, and identify the people who made them.