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January-February 2011

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Museum Notes

SMMP AT TUCSON

The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP) will hold its annual board meeting and membership meeting in the Crystal Ballroom at the Tucson Convention Center on 10 February. The board meeting is 2–3 P.M., the membership meeting 3–4 P.M., and a program open to the public 4–5 P.M. The group will also put together a display with “Misunderstood California Minerals” as the topic.

CALIFORNIA GOLD

Caption: The Mojave Nugget at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Caption: The Mojave Nugget at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The Margie and Robert E. Petersen collection of gold nuggets was recently donated to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. This impressive collection, numbering 132 pieces with a total weight in gold of more than 1,660 troy ounces, has actually been on loan to the museum and on display in the museum's Gem and Mineral Hall for more than two decades. The most important specimen in the collection is the 156-ounce Mojave Nugget—the largest currently known gold nugget from California. It was found in 1977 by prospector Ty Paulsen using a metal detector in the Stringer district near Randsburg, California.

AND MORE GOLD

Caption: The 2005 World Series championship trophy won by the White Sox, part of the Gold exhibit at The Field Museum.

Caption: The 2005 World Series championship trophy won by the White Sox, part of the Gold exhibit at The Field Museum.

Continuing to make the rounds of the various natural history museums is the dazzling Gold exhibition, currently at The Field Museum, in Chicago, where it will run through 6 March. One of the most wide-ranging exhibitions ever assembled on this valued mineral, Gold features an array of 560 geological specimens and cherished objects from around the world: 57 natural specimens, 147 culture-based pieces, 329 coins, and 28 gold bars and ingots, all presented with the scientific and societal story behind this precious metal. In one gallery, visitors step into a 300-square-foot room completely covered in a mere 3-ounce piece of gold flattened to exquisite thinness.

Gold objects holding special significance to Chicagoans are also on display, including the White Sox championship trophy.

SEEING RED

Caption: The Kazanjian Red Diamond at the American Museum of Natural History.

Caption: The Kazanjian Red Diamond at the American Museum of Natural History.

On display in the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, is the Kazanjian Red Diamond, an extraordinary 5.05-carat red gem. It will remain there through 13 March.

The original 35-carat piece of rough was discovered in Lichtenburg, South Africa, in the mid-1920s and was then sent to Amsterdam to be cut. With the onset of World War II, the diamond was placed in a safe in the city of Arnhem, where it was later seized by the Nazis in 1944 and sent to Germany. The stone was later found by a U.S. Army general in a salt mine. In 2007, after thirty years in a private collection, the stone was purchased by Kazanjian Bros., Inc.

Red diamonds are the rarest among colored diamonds. Only three 5-carat red diamonds are known to exist: the emerald-cut Kazanjian Red Diamond, the trilliant-cut 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red, and the 5.03-carat De Young Red.

DINO INVASION

Caption: Stan, the menacing Tyrannosaurus rex, at the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Caption: Stan, the menacing Tyrannosaurus rex, at the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

The Cranbrook Institute of Science, a natural history museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with a world-class mineral collection, has developed a stunning new temporary dinosaur exhibit that will run through summer 2011. World of Dinosaurs: Land, Sea & Air is the most comprehensive exhibit on dinosaurs and other reptiles and birds from the Mesozoic Era ever displayed in Metro Detroit. It encompasses 6,000 square feet on two levels, with more than forty varieties of extinct animals, represented by over sixty high-quality skeletal mounts, molded and restored from the original specimens. The exhibit is anchored by the Hankla collection, arguably one of the world's most significant private fossil collections, assembled by Jack and John Hankla of Danville, Kentucky, and augmented with additional specimens from the museum's collection, including donations by Michael and Barbara Sincak of Hollsopple, Pennsylvania.

The primary focus is on the extinct animals and environment of the Late Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Some highlights include Stan, a 40-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex; the Allosaurus Big Al-2; a 35-foot-long Mosasaurus; and a Pteronodon with a 24-foot wingspan. See www.science.cranbrook.edu/exhibits/ for a description of the exhibit components, including a video, an extensive photo gallery, and other details regarding the museum.

NEW CURATORS

Caption: James W. Hagadorn, now at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Caption: James W. Hagadorn, now at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

In 2009 two new curators were welcomed to the staffs of their museums: Dr. Cara Santelli to the Department of Mineral Sciences at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and Dr. James W. (Whitey) Hagadorn to the Department of Earth Sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Dr. Santelli received her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and completed her postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University where she worked under the tutelage of curator Dr. Carl Francis, consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals.

Dr. Hagadorn received his PhD at the University of Southern California. His responsibilities at the museum include shepherding five collections: rocks, minerals, micromounts, meteorites, and invertebrate fossils.

M.E.H.

COLOR SPONSORS for the Museum Notes column for 2011 are John and Maryanne Fender of Fender Natural Resources, Richardson, Texas.

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