Beauties of the natural world
The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, until November 2017
SHOULD YOU HAPPEN to be in the United States in the next couple of months, you could do a lot worse than hop over to Philadelphia and visit Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences. There, you can enjoy the geological wonders that comprise its exhibition, Specimen Spotlight: Treasures from the Mineral Vault. On show is a celebration of the spectrum of vivid colours and variety of shapes that
minerals manifest. The curators, whose focus has been unashamedly on aesthetic appeal rather than history or scientific anomaly, searched through the museum’s vault and pulled out 50 exhibits from their famous collection.
Specimen Spotlight doesn’t include any of the more obvious gemstone superstars such as diamonds and rubies. It looks instead at the beauty of lesser-valued minerals, including quartz, calcite, fluorite and feldspar.
Visitors can unravel the mysteries of their otherworldly appearance as explanations of the underlying science accompany the displays.
Ever wondered why some minerals look starkly different when their chemical makeup is the same? And what’s the difference between a rock and a mineral anyway?
The Academy’s mineral collection is one of the largest in the world, home to more than 2000 specimens gathered since the museum opened in 1812, making it the oldest intact collection in the US. Some of the treasures now on show have spent decades locked away.
The exhibition runs until November 30.