CSI: Freiberg

A Murder at terra mineralia - Funded by the International Museum Fellowship Pogramme

A body is found in the museum. The tracks lead to the Africa Room. A mineral has been stolen and someone has been murdered. A case for the CSI team? Although the story is fictional, it takes us to the far reaches of the world and underscores the value of minerals and rare earth metals.

These raw materials and chemical elements are the forerunners of the future. Today it’s impossible to imagine our high-tech life without them. Computers, rechargeable batteries, mobiles, monitors, fuel cells, fluorescent lights, electric motors, radar devices – none of these would work or even exist without rare earth metals. The hype surrounding the “global monopoly” on these raw materials has ebbed recently; the prices are moderate. But because demand will inevitably increase in the medium and long term, we can expect market conditions to heat up again and the environmental problems to worsen. Japanese researchers are currently working to minimise the environmental risks of extracting rare earth metals by means of so-called green technologies.

The goal of this fellowship was to introduce visitors to the latest research findings in this field and create an innovative form of presentation which enables museum goers to become “detectives”. In view of the politics governing raw materials worldwide, the museum goers were asked to solve a case of economic crime with the aid of mineralogy, and in so doing, learn about the kinds of scientific methods which can be applied. The exhibition revealed the rules of the game in the global competition for raw materials.

The International Museum Fellowship programme

With this funding programme, the Federal Cultural Foundation enabled guest curators and researchers from abroad to work at museums or public collections in Germany for a duration of 18 months.

International Museum Fellowship (external link, opens in a new window)

Laura Charlene Hall, Fellow at the terra mineralia

An American geologist and museums professional, Laura Charlene Hall completed her Bachelors work at Washington State University in Geology and Germanics. Ms. Hall has worked as a well-site oil geologist, as underground hardrock geologist, and as an environmental geologist on the Hanford Nuclear Site. She received her Master of Arts in 2013 from the University of Washington in Museum Studies, where she worked with the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum to design an exhibit based on cops and criminals in Seattle. Working with terra mineralia, Ms. Hall was creating „CSI: Freiberg - A Murder at terra mineralia“. With the opening in April 2017, the special exhibit featured a detective story through the world of rare earth elements.


  • 12 April, 2017 to 27 August, 2017: Special exhibition "CSI: Freiberg. A murder mystery in terra mineralia"

    terra mineralia / TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg


TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Schloss Freudenstein

Schloßplatz 4
09599 Freiberg

www.terra-mineralia.de (external link, opens in a new window)