Of course you should have references. (Unless chemistry is really different from other disciplines.) But it is probably acceptable to make it a pretty short section, and perhaps refer to another document if asked for more details.
In particular, are there 2-3 most important references you could cite in "short format" with "et al." to make them short enough to not distract? That might be a good middle ground. Alternately, you could do inline citations for the most important ones, with or without footnotes.
(But as always, different disciplines have different standards, so you might want to double check with a few other chemists with a lot of experience presenting posters in the event none of them post an answer here.)