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

Snider said the museum’s collection of technology includes artifacts such as the personal laboratory equipment of first university 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. Lots of 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. Unpacking 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 coal and ore samples to spot rare earth element mining opportunities in 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.