Radiation can be detected in a variety of museum collections:
- Aircraft – radium painted cockpit instruments, thorium metal alloys.
- Decorative arts – glass tableware containing uranium oxide (uranium glass).
- Horology – radium painted clocks and watches.
- Lighting – thorium gas mantles.
- Marine – radium painted bridge navigation instruments.
- Medical – ‘quack’ medicines using radium or thorium.
- Military – depleted uranium ammunition, tritium gunsights.
- Natural history – uranium and thorium minerals, e.g. autunite, uraninite (pitchblende), monazite.
- Social history – radium painted alarm clocks and wristwatches, Geissler tubes, tritium emergency exit signs, some smoke detectors.
The most commonly encountered are uranium, thorium and radium.