people look at CMI exhibit in a glass case

CMI Critical Materials Museum Exhibit

The Critical Materials Institute developed a museum exhibit at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Exhibit

Alert
Current COVID-19 Community Level: LOW (Updated Nov. 22) CDC COVID-19 County Check

The Critical Materials Institute developed a museum exhibit at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum.

The Critical Materials Museum Exhibit is a prototype exhibit for education professionals interested in building a similar exhibit.

A series of "how to" reports were generated at key stages of the design-build process:

Exhibit Updates

CMI coordinates updating the Critical Materials Exhibit at the Mines Museum of Earth Science, with a goal to change at least 25 percent of the exhibit. Highlights in developing the exhibit include:

  • CMI Year 3
    • Fall 2015, exhibit installation. The museum exhibit opened to local visitors in December 2015.
    • February 2016, grand opening during the CMI Winter Meeting at Mines
  • CMI Year 4
    • Summer 2016, solar panels installed to power exhibit at the Mines Geology Museum
    • December 2016, Solar Installation Workshop
    • Add magnet recycling research display
    • Developed a toolkit with input from researchers and teachers, available for checkout at the museum
  • CMI Year 5
    • Install new solar panel to power the exhibit
    • Infographics updated to communicate the story of ore, properties of chemicals, and energy technologies.
  • CMI Year 6
    • Installed touch-screen interface with videos about rare earths and critical materials
    • Installed new interactive exhibit with different types of lighting powered by the solar panel installed earlier
  • CMI Year 7
    • Install new display about CMI projects that won major awards, including R&D 100 Awards, TechConnect Innovation Awards, and regional or national awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC).
    • Updated wind turbine exhibit and samples throughout the CMI critical materials exhibit
    • Use exhibit samples from Mines at Ames during visit with the U.S. Secretary of Energy 
  • CMI Year 8 (during 2020-2021, the museum was closed to public due to pandemic)
  • CMI Year 9
    • Updated interactive display, and extended use of the monitor by using outside of the museum at the Winter Meeting at Mines, during the CMI annual review in Ames and at the first ever Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF), in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that included representatives from 34 countries. 
    • Installed new display cases and signage, including a large map showing locations of rare earth element deposits around the world.
    • Updated teacher and public tour guides and added a new "CMI Successes" banner highlighting CMI research
  • CMI Year 10
    • Developing a new lesson that includes focus on English Language Learners
    • Creating a virtual tour of the critical materials exhibit

CMI offered a Solar Installation Workshop including more than two dozen people from Red Rocks Community College and Colorado School of Mines. RRCC Instructor Troy Wanek (Solar Energy Environments owner and solar installer), shared details of a solar install on a government building. He led the group through the install process, including a walk-through from the solar panel outside, through the warehouse, to the phosphor and efficient lighting components of the Critical Materials Exhibit. The unique solar panel installation at the CSM Geology Museum began from the donation of a CdTe solar panel (from First Solar) and a CIGS panel (from EPRI; made by Solar Frontier). These two panels (CdTe and CIGS) were installed and now power a portion of the Critical Materials exhibit inside the museum, creating the first working solar photovoltaic module system at Mines.

For further information please contact:
Cynthia Howell
Research Faculty, Education, Training and Outreach
Phone: 303-273-3651

silhouettes of people against brightly lit display case
10/27/15 – The exhibit is progressing nicely. Our cases are in, and the interactive video display stand is up! Time to assemble all of our acquisitions! – Mandi Hutchinson, exhibit designer

 

four men with plaque at opening of CMI museum exhibit
February 3, 2016: The museum grand opening included Dr. Paul Johnson, president of the Colorado School of Mines, and the CMI director, deputy director and researchers.

 

several people observe man installing solar panel at Colorado School of Mines Geology museum
Summer 2016: Solar panels installed to power exhibit at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum

 

people at solar workshop at Colorado School of Mines
December 12, 2016: CMI education and outreach offered Solar Installation Workshop to highlight the process of installing a solar panel at the Colorado School of Mines museum, which powers part of the Critical Materials Exhibit.
set of pictures showing parts of the Critical Materials Institute exhibit at Colorado School of Mines
Additions to the CMI Critical Materials Exhibit at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum during CMI Year 6 include (left) a new touch-screen interface with videos about rare earths and critical materials, (middle) a new interactive exhibit with different types of lighting that are powered by the solar panel that was installed during Year 5, and (right) new signage near and inside display cases to ensure that infographics communicate the story of ore, properties of chemicals and energy technologies. 
Two men in a science laboratory.
Parts of the CMI Critical Materials Institute exhibit at the Colorado School of Mines traveled to Ames National Laboratory to be available during a tour by the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Secretary Dan Brouillette (shown right), who toured the Controlled Atmosphere Materials Processing System (CAMPS). CMI project lead Ikenna Nlebedim (shown left) describes the award-winning acid-free dissolution process that can remove cobalt and rare earth elements from used electronics, without operational hazards or environmental impacts associated with acid-based dissolution processes and while maintaining the quality of other parts for recycling.