The exhibit was created to celebrate the induction of Edward Steidle, dean of the College of Mineral Industries (1928–1953) (now College of Earth and Mineral Sciences) into the National Mining Hall of Fame and to commemorate the opening of the newly renovated Steidle Building.
The exhibit included a timeline of the life of Edward Steidle before, during, and after his tenure at Penn State. Steidle worked to promote innovations in mine safety throughout his long career as an educator, innovator, and visionary. An example of a milestone in Steidle’s career includes a project Steidle developed while working as an assistant mining engineer for the Bureau of Mines. Tasked with creating an exhibit on mine safety and rescue for the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, Steidle developed “The Mine,” a replica of a coal mine in which he staged simulated mine explosions followed by dramatic mine rescues. These mock mine disasters and rescues were carried out every day during the Exposition. Steidle’s creativity was rewarded with a medal and letters of commendation by the Bureau of Mines director, the director of the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy, and the president of Pan-Pacific Exposition.
As dean, Steidle promoted an interdisciplinary approach to the study of minerals, industry, and technology, emphasized the importance of liberal arts and culture in mineral education, and opened the first art museum on the Penn State campus. Steidle expressed his philosophy of education and conservation in numerous publications including: A Philosophy of Conservation (1949), Mineral Industries Education (1950), and Mineral Forecast 2000 A.D. (1952). Copies of these publications were included in the exhibit. After retiring from Penn State in 1953, Steidle continued working on mine safety and health issues and was instrumental in the enactment of federal safety and health legislation for mines and miners.