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March-April 2010

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Museum Notes

GROUNDBREAKING NEWS

After years of planning and fundraising, this past November the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, at Victory Park in Dallas, Texas, held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $185-million facility. Located on a 4.7-acre site near the downtown area, the 180,000-square-foot structure will be 170 feet tall, the equivalent of approximately fourteen stories high. The building's interior will include five floors of public space housing ten permanent exhibition galleries, including a children's museum and outdoor courtyard; an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace with a downtown view; a state-of-the-art exhibition gallery designed to host world-class traveling exhibitions; an education wing equipped with six learning labs; a large-format, multimedia digital cinema with seating for three hundred; a flexible-space auditorium; a public café; a retail store; visible exhibit workshops; and offices. Among the exhibits will be those focusing on gems and minerals.

DIAMOND DISPLAY

At the Field Museum, in Chicago, is an elegant temporary exhibit (through 26 March) titled The Nature of Diamonds, which explores the human fascination with diamonds and their cultural and scientific importance. Seven exhibition sections delve into many aspects of diamonds, from their geological origins to their unique properties, how they are mined, their significance in art and adornment, and their numerous uses in modern technology. All this is set against a backdrop of stupendous gemstones, in total nearly eight hundred items.

REVAMPED

The Geological Museum, housed in the Museum Africa complex in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, opened to the public this past fall after a three-year revamp. The displays include educational exhibits, aimed mainly at schoolchildren and undergraduate geology students, as well as a sampling of some of the aesthetic pieces from the museum's inventory of more than seventeen thousand mineral specimens. Represented are the Tsumeb mine and other southern African localities such as Berg Aukas, the Kalahari manganese field, and the Messina mine. There are also historical specimens from localities in Japan, England, and Germany, to name a few. The other good news is that after an eleven-year absence, the museum will once again be employing a geological curator.

THE ALLURE OF GOLD

The temporary Gold exhibition that was organized by the American Museum of Natural History and the Houston Museum of Natural Science is currently at the Cincinnati Museum Center, where it will remain through 16 May. According to the Associated Press, this is one of the ten most popular traveling museum exhibitions in the world. The glittering display has been adding luster to museum halls for the past few years as it travels the country. Before coming to Cincinnati, it was at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta.

Cultural objects, exquisite jewelry, ancient coins, and specimens showcase the dazzle and utility of gold through the ages, while other displays emphasize gold rushes, gold mining and processing, as well as the physical properties of gold.

M.E.H.

Rocks & Minerals welcomes museum news items and related photographs for this column. Correspondence should be directed to the editor-in-chief, 5341 Thrasher Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45247; rocksandminerals@fuse.net.

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