SCHOTT Fiber Optics Lighting Brings “Magic” to Mineral Exhibits
at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum

SCHOTT’s fiber optic products are helping illuminate the award winning Digging In exhibition at the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum in Bisbee, Arizona. The exhibition features a replica change house, underground mine and crystal cave, as well as several cases showing azurite and malachite and other dazzling minerals mined in Bisbee from 1880 to the mid 1970s.

The decision to use SCHOTT’s fiber optic products to light the exhibit was made by award-winning lighting designer Frank A. Florentine, FIES, LC. Using SCHOTT fiber optic lighting to illuminate the exhibits’ cases helps the museum provide its visitors with an educational experience they will never forget.

“It was essential to bring out the beauty of each individual mineral,” said Florentine. “Crystals within the minerals reflect points of light and the reflection changes as one’s viewing angle changes. Fiber optic lights from SCHOTT enabled me to precisely direct pin point beams of light at individual crystals, making the minerals sparkle and creating a magical effect.”

Employing a layered lighting design approach, Florentine was able to make the exhibit’s minerals display “fire and pop” using SCHOTT SpectraNova Light Sources with HID Lamps, Slim LightBars and Lighting Harnesses. The LightBars bathe the cases in ambient light while the end fittings provide key lights for the minerals and the descriptive labels. In addition, the SpectraNova Light Source is one of the brightest, yet smallest metal halide light sources available, and it is extremely quiet, making it ideal in the museum environment.

With SCHOTT fiber optics, Florentine was able to place the light sources in areas that were easily accessible, allowing people to change lamps without compromising the security of each case. In addition, because each lamp performs multiple lighting functions, the number of lamps that Florentine had to deploy was reduced, increasing the long-life lamps’ energy savings while also lowering maintenance costs and reducing the amount of heat generated by the lamps. With SCHOTT fiber optic lighting, Florentine was able to provide the museum with a lighting design that will provide a constant quality of light throughout the exhibit cases for the lifetime of the exhibit.

A Proud Mining History

The small city of Bisbee, located in Arizona’s southeast, is home to one of the richest copper mines in the United States. More then just copper, however, was mined. Many other interesting and unusual minerals mined at Bisbee also found their way into museums and expositions around the world.

Though Bisbee was the stronghold of the American copper industry, the city had to wait for years to hold its own mineral exhibition. Now, with the generous assistance of the Smithsonian Institution and private collections, Bisbee minerals can be viewed at the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum.

“Bisbee minerals were all over the world except Bisbee,” states Carrie Gustavson, Director of the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum. “We decided to bring them back and create a unique exhibition for our visitors to experience.”

Completed in 2005, “Digging In” is the title of the 2,000 sq ft national award-winning permanent exhibition that offers not only insights into the history of copper and how it was mined, but also its applications. The exhibition tells the story of those who once mined the ore.


SCHOTT is a technology-driven, international group that sees its core purpose as the improvement of how people live and work through expert solutions in specialty materials, components and systems. Its main areas of focus are special glasses and glass-ceramics for architectural applications, the household appliance industry, pharmaceutical packaging, optics and opto-electronics, information technology, consumer electronics, lighting, automotive engineering and solar energy.

SCHOTT has a presence in close proximity to its customers through highly efficient production and sales companies in all of its major markets. It has more than 17,000 employees producing worldwide sales of approximately $3 billion. In North America, SCHOTT’s holding companies SCHOTT Corporation and its subsidiary SCHOTT North America, Inc. employ about 2,500 people in 10 operations.

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