EMS museum will use grant to improve geology, technology and storage of art collection

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Snider said the museum’s tech collection includes artifacts such as the personal laboratory equipment of the university’s first president, Evan Pugh, as well as items to advance safety in the mining industry. Some items include personal safety equipment and instruments for warning of explosive mine gases. Most of the articles, she said, help tell the story of the college and also the history of the state. Most of the tech collection has been stored in unmarked boxes since 2004. Unwrapping those boxes will bring surprises, she said.

Snider said the EMS Museum’s collections are important for research as well as for historical preservation. Several researchers, including experts at Penn State, are using samples of coal and ore to spot opportunities for extracting rare earth elements from abandoned mines. Other items, such as objects in the art collection, are studied by art historians, materials scientists and archaeologists for art, materials used to create art, and industrial technologies represented in art. Snider notes that much of the art we enjoy today comes from materials from the ground.

Collecting pieces for the tech collection in addition to those still in boxes, Snider said a meteorologist told him the donated instruments – though used only a few decades ago – were unrecognizable to him. Items in this collection include a crystal sun tracker that uses a magnifying glass to etch the path of the sun onto a substrate.


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