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Penn State’s Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum & Art Gallery reopens with ‘rocking’ new exhibits

If Penn State students were to have visited the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum & Art Gallery prior to December 2020, they would have been met with dismantled exhibits and construction area notices.

In August 2020, Penn State’s Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum & Art Gallery had received demolitions and many renovations to its exhibition space — the largest being an addition that doubled the size of the area.

Since its completion of renovations in early 2021, the museum has opened new exhibits in its newly renovated facilities, such as “Women’s Work” and “Hidden Landscapes: An Exploration of Earth’s Mantle.”

“Hidden Landscapes” is a student engagement exhibition featuring the work and vision of Penn State senior Angelina Santamaria, who studied the “aesthetic and scientific beauty of xenoliths” — rocks that were embedded in volcanic magma while the magma cooled.

Renan Beckman said it was around her freshman year when the EMS Museum & Art Gallery closed for renovations. When it reopened, she said she was “very excited to go.”

“I like that it’s bigger, and I think it was a good thing that it got renovated because my freshman year, it definitely was smaller, and there were different exhibits,” Beckman (senior-geosciences) said. “Back then, they had a lot of interactive exhibits, sandpits, tornado simulators, and now I feel like it’s more traditional — and I don’t know exactly how, but I like it.”

Courtesy of Elonie Ward

Beckman said she hasn’t seen many of the newly opened exhibits, but when she visited, she liked that the museum had “vast and widespread” exhibits from paintings to “literal chunks of minerals.”

The museum will continue to expand its offerings with new exhibits such as “Critical Mineral Resources” and “Tools We Use For Seeing” coming soon.

Eathan Gottshall said what he likes about the museum is that “they cycle in new things every couple weeks.”

Yet, even with all of the new exhibits and renovations, some students at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences said they believe more can be done to spread the word about the EMS Museum & Art Gallery.

“It was closed until last summer, so I think a lot of people still think that it’s closed. So, we definitely need to get the word out there that it’s open pretty much every day of the week,” Gottshall (senior-geosciences and biology) said. “Flyers would be a good way to do it, or maybe do an interactive lab somewhere on campus — maybe in the [HUB-Robeson Center] or something small to keep people engaged.”

The EMS Museum & Art Gallery is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gabriel Felker, a student employee at the museum, said he works “just about every day” and has been doing so for almost a year now. He said he first started working because he saw the job opening and thought it would be “pretty fun.”

Felker (senior-geosciences) gave an explanation of what he would recommend to a first-time visitor to the museum.

“I would definitely tell them to check out the museum and help them through some of the exhibits to explain what’s going on and explain the significance of it,” Felker said. “After that, I’d give them the whole speech and whatnot and tell them to check out some more of the museums around here and check out the historics of State College.”

Felker said he definitely likes the new exhibits “a lot,” and anyone can find some “wild stuff” among the exhibits.

Along with its scientific exhibits and displays of rocks and meteorites, the EMS Museum & Art Gallery also displays fossils, sculptures, paintings and more.

“I feel like even though this is a science college and an engineering college, not everything in there is science,” Beckman said. “There’s paintings and there’s other things… It’s cool that it’s a science museum, but there’s all kinds of art and exhibits.”

Source : Collegian

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