Thursday, April 19, 2012

Science on the Edge: Radical Innovation in New Harmony

The Indiana State Museum (Indianapolis) is hosting a temporary exhibit entitled Science on the Edge: Radical Innovation in New Harmony from March 24 through October 28, 2012. The exhibit will highlight the scientists who participated in the grand Utopian experiment at New Harmony, Indiana in the mid-1820s till the 1830s. Learn more at their web site.
My interest in this exhibit is of a more direct nature, as I was the one who prepared the mineral specimen loan to the Indiana State Museum from the Louisville Science Center from the historic Gerard Troost mineral collection (1811-1850). Dr. Troost was a scientist who with his family lived in New Harmony, Indiana in 1825-1826. He and the French naturalist Charles-Alexandre Lesueur left from New Harmony in 1826 and explored parts of southern Illinois and eastern Missouri. This trip provided a number of mineral specimens like fluorite from Illinois and galena (lead) from Missouri.

New Harmony attracted scientists like William Maclure, Thomas Say, and Robert Owen whose sons later became well known geologists. The mineral pictures in this posting are a yellow fluorite from Europe, troostite (var. Willemite) from Franklin, New Jersey, and a malachite/azurite specimen.