The Warren Museum includes more than two dozen exhibits in four rooms that collectively offer about 1,800 square feet of exhibit space. Here are some of the highlights:
The "Color Wall"
Upon entering the main room of the museum visitors will see before them the "Color Wall", a 16-ft-wide, floor-to-ceiling display of 100 oversized fluorescent mineral specimens, some of them 2-3 ft long and weighing more than 100 pounds. A sequential lighting scheme allows viewers to see the minerals first under longwave ultraviolet light, then under shortwave ultraviolet light, and finally under both. This is followed by a brief period of darkness so that the phosphorescence, or "afterglow", of some of the minerals can be seen.
Fluorescent minerals piled on open ore cars, with longwave ultraviolet lamps suspended above, invite visitors to touch glowing minerals in the process of fluorescing. Many visitors discover that they themselves fluoresce, and that fingernails and teeth glow particularly brightly, often to disturbing effect. Handsome men, beautiful women, and cute children transform into ghastly creatures in this exhibit--we guarantee it. Come see your loved ones in a whole new light!
More than a dozen theme cases in the Warren Museum illustrate some particular facet of fluorescence. No less beautiful than the other displays, these cases allow visitors to learn as much (or as little) about fluorescence as they wish. Minerals, lapidary items such as spheres and cabochons, and household objects such as wine glasses and cookie tins are all included. For a description of each theme case, plus numerous photographs, click here.
Lea Anderson, retired art teacher and one of our tour guides, lent her artistic expertise to creating a fanciful display room for our youngest visitors. Look in the large window and you'll see a fluorescent castle, an erupting volcano, a dragon, a snake, a decidedly odd-looking bird, and maybe even a spider or two. This is a place for children to let their imagination run free.
Another favorite with children, the large fluorescent geode near the museum's entrance is three feet across and weighs more than 3,000 pounds. An eight-inch hole broken through the geode's shell allows viewers to see the brightly green-fluorescent minerals inside. You may see a few other things, too...
Historic and modern ultraviolet lights are displayed in two cases in a separate room of the museum. Visitors can follow the technological development of ultraviolet light sources from the iron spark generators used in the early 1900s through the efficient low-pressure mercury vapor lights used today. Related items such as battery packs, viewing boxes, and special-purpose ultraviolet lights are also on view.