The Anne and Milton Hershhorn Fluorescent Mineral Exhibit opened to the public in October of 2002. Milton Hershhorn's interest in minerals was sparked in the 1930s by the educational outreach program of the Brooklyn Museum. The Hershhorns donated their collections to Rutgers Geology Museum shortly before they passed away in the hope of inspiring a new generation's interest in minerals. Milton Hershhorn's passion was fluorescent minerals and their family donated the exhibit in memory of Anne and Milton Hershhorn. The exhibit is designed to display and explain fluorescence in minerals, a phenomenon in which specimens emit vivid colors of visible light when they are exposed to ultraviolet rays. Milton Hershhorn's own interest in minerals began with an educational outreach program at the Brooklyn Children's Museum in the 1903s. He expressed hope that his collection at the Rutgers Geology Museum would inspire interest in minerals among current and future generations.
"My father was as dedicated to education as he was to fluorescent minerals. We are most pleased that my father's collection will continue to intrigue students through their beauty as art objects and through all the scientific stories they tell," said Mark Hershhorn, son of the collector and member of the Rutgers Board of Governors.
Fluorescence in minerals occurs when ultraviolet light waves, invisible to the human eye, are absorbed by a mineral's atoms, and then emitted back to the viewer in multiple steps. The steps may include visible light, and if a step includes just one wavelength of visible light, the viewer will perceive the result as vivid color. The minerals in the Hershhorn exhibit emit mostly brilliant red and green. Come by and learn more about this amazing phenomenon!