Mounting signage

Major Accomplishments

The EMS Museum & Art Gallery has had many successes from 2004 to now. It is important that an institution recognizes and celebrates its successes. The list of accomplishments is truly impressive but we cannot rest on these laurels and we must move forward to reach the next level of accomplishments. Please review the following list of highlights and accomplishments realized since 2004.

Museum & Art Gallery Administration

  • Established an Advisory Board for the EMS Museum & Art Gallery;
  • Created initial governing documents for EMS Museum & Art Gallery;
  • Participated in the Heritage Preservation Conservation Assessment Program;
  • Participated in the AAM Institutional Museum Assessment Program;
  • Received IMLS funds to upgrade storage facilities and rehouse art collection;
  • Received IMLS funds to unpack, photograph, and database the geological collections;
  • Submitted a proposal for IMLS funds to upgrade storage facilities and rehouse rock, mineral and fossil collections;
  • Established four new endowments for the museum;
  • Published the 176-page Wonders of Work and Labor: The Steidle Collection of American Industrial Art;
  • Selected as one of ten museums in the U.S. in first cohort of the AAM Small Museums Accreditation Academy;
  • Initiated the process of gaining accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums; and
  • Drafted core documents (Mission Statement, Collections Management Policy, Institutional Strategic Plan, Code of Ethics, and Emergency Response Plan) as part of the process of application for accreditation.


  • Disassembled and removed all exhibits from Steidle Building (ca. one quarter mile of cabinets in hallways and more than 1800 square feet of exhibits in the old museum gallery;
  • Relocated granite slabs from Deike Building to temporary storage facility;
  • Assembled new exhibits in new galleries in Deike Building;
  • Moved mastodon tusks from Steidle Building to the EMS Library in Deike Building;
  • Removed three large (each measuring 7½’ x 13’), antique plaster maps of Pennsylvania geology, mineral resources, and industrial economy from the walls of Steidle Building;
  • Established changing exhibits program in the Art & Mineral Gallery in Deike Building;
  • Established changing exhibits program in the EMS Library in Deike Building;
  • Established program for student-developed exhibits (e.g, senior theses, CAUSE, Ocean Acidification, Phase Change Materials);
  • Loaned forty-five pieces from the Steidle art collection to the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for special exhibition;
  • Loaned fifty-five pieces from the Steidle art collection to the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania for special exhibition;
  • Refurbished and installed a fluorescent mineral case in Deike Building exhibit gallery;
  • Installed zinc and related minerals exhibit in Hosler Building stairwell;
  • Conserved and installed the 1893, three dimensional, plaster map of Pennsylvania geology (one of the large maps recovered from the Steidle Building) in the EMS Museum science gallery in the Deike Building;
  • Established use of security hardware for paintings in EMS Museum art gallery and an art rail system for paintings exhibited in the EMS Library and Penn State’s Provost’s office;
  • Replaced incandescent lighting in exhibit galleries with LEDs (the first on campus!!);
  • Replaced fluorescent exhibit case lighting with LEDs (ongoing);
  • Purchased ten custom-built exhibit cases for art and mineral gallery with generous donations made by Drs. Hu and Mary Barnes; and
  • Worked with EMS Machine Shop to create interactive exhibits:
    • Augmented Reality Sandbox
    •  Monitor
    • Fluorescent Minerals
    • Phase Change Materials
    • Seismology exhibit
    • Tornado Simulator
    • Data Sonification


  • Renovated facility for EMS Museum collections (including an environmentally controlled collections range) at the EMS Museum Collection, Education & Research Center (CERC) in Penn State’s Special Services Building;
  • Retrieved collections stored throughout EMS facilities and relocated them to CERC (first time in decades that all collections have been housed together);
  • Unpacked, inventoried, and photographed the majority of EMS Museum collections and entered the data into a collection database (PastPerfect);
  • Upgraded storage of Steidle art collection to include professional art storage racks;
  • Conducted piece-by-piece painting conservation assessment of the oil paintings in the Steidle art collection;
  • Embarked on a conservation treatment program for oil paintings in the Steidle art collection in 2011. To date, 35 percent of the paintings have been conserved;
  • Had article published in American Art Review on the Steidle Collection of American Industrial Art; and
  • Served as center for housing and distributing rock samples collected as part of NSF funded ExTerra Field Institute and Research Endeavor (E-FIRE) project.


  • Hosted a special symposium on the Steidle art collection to commemorate publication of Wonders of Work and Labor: The Steidle Collection of American Industrial Art;
  • Expanded EMS Museum programs to include school tours, school visits, lectures linked to exhibits, teacher professional development workshops, etc.;
  • Participated in outreach events such as Polar Day, Science-U, OLLI, Graduate Exhibition, Special Olympics, Exploration Day, Nittany Mineralogical Society (NMS) Junior Education Day, Geosciences Shake, Rattle and Rock;
  • Collaborated with Center for the Performing Arts, the Palmer Museum of Art, Center for Sciences and the Schools (CSATS), Governor’s Institute, Summer Academy, Higher Achievement;
  • Created and taught a graduate student seminar on Using Museums to Communicate Science;
  • Worked with the Nittany Mineralogical Society to implement a NMS-driven changing exhibit case; and
  • Raised the profile of the EMS Museum through staff presentations at meetings of the:
    • American Alliance of Museums
    • Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists
    • International Council of Museums Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History
    • Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums
    • Nittany Mineralogical Society Gem and Mineral Show
    • Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations
    • Small Museums Association
    • Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections