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September-October 2012

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Museum Notes


The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP) will hold two fall meetings, the first at the Denver Merchandise Mart during the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, Friday, 14 September. The board will meet at 1:30 P.M. followed by the membership meeting at 2:00. The group will also provide an exhibit at the show. The second meeting will be at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre during the Munich Gem and Mineral Show, 26–28 October.

SMMP is affiliated with the American Geological Institute and the Natural Science Collections Alliance.


On the evening of 7 September, Jeff Scovil will give an illustrated talk on photography at the Tellus Science Museum, in Cartersville, Georgia. In addition to showing examples of his acclaimed mineral photography and sharing tips on his photographic techniques, he will also discuss some of his recent trips.


Discover the spectacular designs of Peter Carl Fabergé at the Bowers Museum, in Santa Ana, California, at Fabergé: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars, a special exhibition that opened 23 June and runs through 6 January 2013. From elegantly simple to breathtakingly ornate, some 120 Fabergé objects are featured, including the much-celebrated Easter eggs, the Empress Josephine Tiara, and exquisite everyday items of the ruling class—cigarette lighters and cases, numerous hat pins, clocks, picture frames, boxes, and more.

Caption: The Nicholas II Presentation Box, part of the Fabergé collection now at the Bowers Museum. Made of gold and decorated with enamel and diamonds, the box features the cipher of Tsar Nicholass II on the cover.

Fabergé, a master Russian goldsmith and legendary jeweler, continues to be celebrated for his inventive designs and meticulous craftsmanship. Pieces on display are from the McFerrin collection, one of the world's most important private collections of Fabergé. Although many of the pieces in this collection have been featured individually in other exhibitions and in publications during the past sixty years, this marks the first time the entire collection of these objects of luxury has been presented for public display.


The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Museum, in Carlsbad, California, will feature its lavish GIA Celebrates Birthstones exhibit beginning 28 September, after its successful stint at the San Diego International Airport (see the Museum Notes column, January/February 2012, pages 90–91). Among the approximately 250 gems, minerals, and jewelry pieces from around the world are a 7,600-carat natural blue topaz and a twenty-strand necklace featuring a rainbow of sapphire beads. The exhibit will continue through spring 2013.

Caption: The 7,600-carat natural blue topaz and the twenty-strand necklace featuring a rainbow of sapphire beads, part of the Birthstones exhibit at the GIA Museum.


Joining the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Houston Museum of Natural Science with its own new dinosaur exhibit is the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), in Toronto, Ontario, where Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana opened on 23 June. The exhibition was curated, designed, and produced by the ROM, which is its first stop before embarking on an international tour.

Based on groundbreaking research from scientists around the world, the exhibition reveals bizarre, unusual looking dinosaurs virtually unknown to North Americans because they evolved in isolation in South America, Africa, and Madagascar. Included, for example, among many others, are a Futalognkosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Suchominmus, and Carnotaurus. Real fossil skeletons and seventeen full-scale skeletal casts are surrounded by lifelike environmental murals. Accompanying the display are a Dino Adventure Trail, hands-on activities, and a wide range of dinosaur-inspired programming. The exhibit continues at the ROM until 17 March 2013.

Caption: Giganotosaurus, part of Ultimate Dinosaurs, now at the Royal Ontario Museum. This dinosaur, possibly the largest theropod, is 43 feet long and lived in what is now Argentina some 95 million years ago.


This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHF&M), in Leadville, Colorado. Established in 1987, the Hall of Fame honors individuals for their significant contributions to the U.S. mining industry, preserving their legacy for future generations. The museum boasts one of the most comprehensive mining memorabilia equipment and mineral collections in North America. The more than 20,000 square feet of exhibit space are dedicated to telling the story of mining, its people, and its importance. Feature exhibits include the walk-through Hard Rock Mine, Prospector's Cave, and Coal Mine replicas; the Gold Rush Room, featuring two 24-ounce gold nuggets; the Industrial Minerals Room; the Crystal Room; and the Frost Gallery, showcasing more than seven hundred minerals from all over the world.

The nonprofit NMHF&M also owns and operates the historic Matchless mine and Baby Doe's cabin, once owned by “Silver King” Horace Tabor. The museum is housed in the original 1890s high school building in historic Leadville.


Dr. George W. Robinson, curator of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, is coauthor, with Dr. Robert Rann, of the recently published The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum: Its History and Collections. Look for a review of the new book in our Media Reviews column in the near future.

Since its inception in 1902, the museum has housed one of the premiere mineral collections in North America and has showcased the world's finest display of minerals from Michigan's famous Lake Superior copper district. For examples of both local and worldwide specimens, see the photo galleries on the museum's website,

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