Superstition says a bride needs four things on her wedding day. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science, Mas Subramanian provided all four of those things recently to the Benton Country Historical Museum for their newest exhibit, Something Old, Something Blue. Something old came in the form of a piece of lapis lazuli shipped all the way from Afghanistan; something borrowed was a reproduction of a cover article written about Mas and his discovery for National Geographic Magazine. Something new and something blue both came in the form of samples of his blue pigment.
This extraordinary blue pigment, discovered by happy accident in 2009, has led to, at last count, two patents, three publications and thousands of Google hits for the OSU scientist and his research team. Created by heating manganese compounds to 2,000 degrees, this pigment is heat reflective, non-toxic (unlike other blue pigments) and much more durable and versatile than blues previously discovered. “One day, a graduate student working on a completely different project was taking samples out of a furnace while I was walking by and it was blue. I realized immediately that something amazing had happened,” states Subramanian when asked how this serendipity had occurred. “The more we discover about the pigment, the more interesting it gets,” Subramanian says. Maybe that’s why Subramanian and his research group have decided to continue their research; attempting to make other colors using the same basic chemistry.
The Something Old, Something Blue exhibition showcases artifacts from the combined Horner Museum and Benton Country Historical Society artifact collections, with an emphasis on the color blue. When asked where the idea came from for Something Old, Something Blue; Mark Tolonen stated, “Most of our exhibitions come from our own collections, of about 120,000 objects. We go through and look for themes and we decided we had enough blue objects for an exhibit.” Some of the additional highlights are, Blues Traveler (international theme), blue fashion, blue in nature, the Boys in Blue (uniforms and school colors) and art.
Something Old, Something Blue will be on display November 14, 2014-October 24, 2015, at the Benton County Historical Museum. 1101 Main St, Philomath, OR 97370. They are open Tuesday thru Saturday 10:00am-4:30pm.
11/26/14 – UPDATE: This exhibit was featured in the Corvallis Gazette Times