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July-August 2011

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Museum Notes

A new museum, the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum (MMGM), is scheduled to open in summer 2012 in historic Bethel, Maine. Focus of the nonprofit museum is on the state's mining heritage and includes the exhibition, interpretation, and repatriation of Maine's gems, minerals, and mining memorabilia. Already several complete collections have been acquired, making the museum's holdings the largest assembled in the state. They will be augmented by specimen loans from the Harvard Mineralogical Museum and the American Museum of Natural History.

On display will be specimens from Maine's world-famous mines, including tourmaline, aquamarine, morganite, amethyst, topaz, and rose quartz, among many others. An onsite jewelry store will help sustain the museum, along with an educational curriculum, craft and jewelry classes, a membership organization, and planned giving activities. MMGM's campus complex includes the Bumpus mine. Founders are Dr. Lawrence Stifler, Mary McFadden, and Jim Mann. A search is under way for a museum director.

Caption: These two historic buildings on Bethel's Main Street will house the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum.

Caption: These two historic buildings on Bethel's Main Street will house the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum.

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

NEW GALLERY AT MUSEUM VICTORIA

Many of the best mineral specimens in Museum Victoria's collections are now on public display for the first time following the opening of the Dynamic Earth exhibition at the Melbourne (Australia) museum in late 2010. The exhibition features displays on the origins of Earth and the forces that form rocks and minerals and shape landscapes. The centerpiece is a walk-in 3D immersion cinema that uses state-of-the-art computer graphics to show volcanic eruptions and a meteorite impact event. However, the minerals themselves are the big draw. They are grouped into various themes related to geological environments and processes, rather than a systematic approach, which enhances the diversity of habits and colors in each showcase. The budget allowed for some fine acquisitions, including specimens of azurite, uvarovite, andradite, zoisite (tanzanite), and a 2-meter slab containing fist-sized almandine crystals from the Broken Hill region. Other highlights are the impressive 23-kilogram Ausrox Gold Nugget from Western Australia, on loan from the Pinnacle collection, along with a selection of diamonds from Argyle. There is also a walk-in fluorescent mineral display, a feature that is always popular with the public. For the mineral-collecting community, it seems that the long wait has been well worth it.

Victorian minerals (including gold) and rocks are also featured in another new gallery—600 Million Years, Victoria Evolves—that, together with Dynamic Earth, completes the renewal of the Melbourne museum's natural science-based exhibition spaces.

Caption: Two views of some of the minerals on display in the new gallery at Museum Victoria.

Caption: Two views of some of the minerals on display in the new gallery at Museum Victoria.

Caption: The Ausrox Gold Nugget, currently being exhibited at Museum Victoria. The specimen, on loan from the Pinnacle collection, was brokered by Arkenstone and Ausrox and was on display at the 2011 Tucson Show.

Caption: The Ausrox Gold Nugget, currently being exhibited at Museum Victoria. The specimen, on loan from the Pinnacle collection, was brokered by Arkenstone and Ausrox and was on display at the 2011 Tucson Show.

EXHIBIT IN NORWICH

Currently on display at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery in Norwich, England, are some of the sculptures of French artist Hubert Duprat. Known for his frequent use of natural materials that look manmade and manmade materials that look natural, Duprat has shown his work nationally and internationally for more than twenty years. Some of his sculptures utilize minerals, as shown in the pyrite example pictured here. Other examples are carvings from flint. The exhibit continues through the summer.

Caption: This Hubert Duprat sculpture titled Pyrite and measuring 45 × 48 cm.

Caption: This Hubert Duprat sculpture titled Pyrite and measuring 45 × 48 cm.

OPEN HOUSE & PREVIEW

The popular Copper Country Mineral Retreat will take place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula 8–13 August. As always, the annual event offers a variety of exciting activities, from collecting opportunities, a mineral-shop open house, and a historical tour, to a show, a swap, and an outdoor picnic and open house at the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum in its new facility at Michigan Tech University in Houghton.

The latter is by preregistration only and, in addition to the meal, includes a walking preview of the two galleries (Copper Country and Beauty of Minerals) that will be open at that time and the entire exhibit space as well as the collection management part of the building, which is not available to the public. (The two galleries represent about 20 percent of the exhibit floor space; the goal for 100 percent gallery completion is May of next year.) The museum gift shop will be open for the evening and will offer a discount to participants.

For information on the Copper Country Retreat and to register, see www.museum.mtu.edu.

RETIRING

After more than thirty-four years in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Dr. Anthony “Tony” R. Kampf retired at the end of this past March. However, as curator emeritus, he continues to come to the museum every day to concentrate on his research. The museum's Gem and Mineral Council surprised Kampf with a retirement party on 7 May to commemorate his many contributions to the department.

Caption: Retired mineral curator Tony Kampf.

Caption: Retired mineral curator Tony Kampf.

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