WSU opens Detroit's first mineral museum - The South End: News

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WSU opens Detroit's first mineral museum

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Posted: Monday, May 29, 2017 12:00 pm

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences opened the door to Detroit’s first and only Geology and Mineral Museum on May 19.

Guests are welcomed to view a collection of approximately 350 items of geological importance donated to the museum by the university’s geological department.

Curator of the museum and Academic Services Officer in the Department of Geology David Lowrie added to the collection himself. He has worked at WSU for over 50 years.

Lowrie said that every piece in the museum had a story to tell, “if people were willing to look and listen to them.”

One of the main features of the museum is the Thomas Edison collection—94 fine gems, minerals and stones that were allegedly hand—chosen by Tiffany & Co. by Edison as a gift to Henry Ford.

“The Edison collection was found in the trash by a factory employee in 1940, if you can believe it,” Lowrie said. “Thankfully, he gave it to Wayne State before it could be lost to the ages, and we’re privileged enough to be able to display these historical pieces the way they’re meant to be seen.”

Junior and liberal arts and sciences student Tina Abraham said she appreciated what the museum meant to the university and to the city.

“I’m still undecided in my major, but after seeing the museum I’m considering geology,” Abraham said. “It’s something different that kind of sets us apart, and it adds to the attractions in the city.”

On display alongside the Edison collection is a grouping of agates, or crystal silica, meteorites, antique mining lamps, some fossils and a crystal calcite coated piece of pipe found on the Edsel Ford Highland Estate during construction.

In a press release by WSU before the museum opened, Lowrie said that one of his favorite artifacts was a “red quartz on hemanite.”

“It’s hard to choose,” Lowrie said. “They all have their individual beauty. I can’t say I’m not partial to the ones I helped bring in, though.”

Sociology major Kayla Kennard said even though she thought the sparkly additions were nice, she preferred the historical ones.

“The pipe is a cool metaphor for Detroit when you think about it, and the mining lamps are so old and haunting” Kennard said. “They really make it feel like a museum.”

Lowrie said the museum has plans to expand the exhibits with display of “fluorescent and phosphorescent rocks accompanied by ultraviolet lights.”

The museum also plans to offer tours and field trips for elementary, middle and high school students in the future. The museum is open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday throughout June and is free to students and the public.

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