In July 2019, the Arizona History Museum welcomed Dr. Russell Skowronek from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and his colleague Richard Johnson to research items in the Arizona Historical Society collections made of copper from the Spanish colonial frontier. Using a non-destructive portable X-Ray Fluorescence, Dr. Skowronek is able to decipher the composition of objects that were created as far back as the sixteenth century. In the photo below, Dr. Skowronek and Mr. Johnson use the device (modeled after a Star Trek phaser) to analyze a copper baptismal font from 1775. This baptismal font is from Mission of La Purissima Conception in Caborca, Sonora. Their research will help to show how copper goods were traded on the Spanish colonial frontier, as well as where the copper was derived.

Dr. Russel Skowronek and colleague Richard Johnson analyze a 1775 copper baptismal font from Mission Caborca.