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July-August 2014

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Museum Notes


As every year, the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP) held its board and general meetings at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February. Although the group also gets together at the Denver and Munich shows, the Tucson gathering has the largest turnout, which calls for an annual photo, shown here.

Members of SMMP at its annual meeting at the 2014 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.


Of the smorgasbord of items tempting mineral curators who come to the several Tucson shows every year, which specimens actually go back to their museums with them, either as purchases or donations? Pictured here are just a few treasures that Smithsonian Institution curators went home with from Tucson in 2014.

Dr. Jeffrey Post (left), curator, and Russell Feather, gem collection manager, accepting the donation of Csarite™ gemstones to the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection during the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) GemFair in Tucson, February 2014. Milenyum Mining, Ltd. was the donor. Csarite™ is an unusual gem-quality, color-change diaspore actively mined at only one global source in the Anatolia Mountains of Turkey

The 159.33-carat cat's-eye diaspore that was donated.

The donated 44.48-carat faceted oval diaspore.

Two yellow beryls (heliodor) from the Proberyl mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil. They were donated to the Smithsonian by the Yellow Emerald Mining Company; the material has been trademarked as Emeryl™. The faceted stone weighs 147.23 carats.

Two yellow beryls (heliodor) from the Proberyl mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil. They were donated to the Smithsonian by the Yellow Emerald Mining Company; the material has been trademarked as Emeryl™. The faceted stone weighs 147.23 carats.



The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is offering another of its mineral-oriented trips, this one to Burma (Myanmar), 5–19 November. Guided by geologist Kyaw Thu and museum staff, participants will visit ruby, sapphire, and peridot mines in Mogok, as well as the famed Mogok gem markets. There will also be stops in Yangon and Mandalay and two nights in Bagan, ancient city on the Irrawaddy River with its more than two thousand temples and pagodas. Interested? More details are available by contacting the museum's Gem and Mineral Council at


The Museum of Ventura County in Ventura, California, is currently hosting an exhibition that tells the fascinating stories of history's most fabulous diamonds and their equally famous and often notorious owners. Called Diamonds Are Forever, the exhibit features the well-known (to-scale) diamond replicas of Scott Sucher and the stunning historical figures of artisthistorian George Stuart. Included in the side-by-side exhibit of gemstones and owners are several famous diamonds: the Hope, the Regent, the Beau Sancy, the Mirror of Portugal, the Orlov, and the Koh-i-Noor. Lectures and other special activities are part of the presentation, which runs until 24 August.


A dramatic Triceratops skull is now on exhibit at Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. This high-fidelity cast was made from a nearly complete Triceratops discovered on Zerbst Ranch in northeastern Wyoming and nicknamed “Lane” for the grandson of the landowners. Lane was excavated in 2002 by a team from the Black Hills Institute for Geological Research located in Hill City, South Dakota.

Lane was discovered in the Late Cretaceous Lance Formation, which has produced dozens of excellent Triceratops fossils. The skull of Lane is one of the most complete skulls ever discovered. Perhaps the most exciting thing about Lane is that mummified skin was also found at the dig site, making this particular fossil scientifically significant.

Triceratops at Tellus.


Paleontologists at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas are celebrating a major event: confirmation of the discovery of a new species of dinosaur. Named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, the dinosaur is described as a close cousin to Tyrannosaurus rex. The fossil bones were discovered in 2006 on Alaska's North Slope at an excavation site almost 400 miles northwest of Fairbanks, north of the Arctic Circle. Three distinct pieces of fossil were uncovered: part of a lower jaw, part of a brain casing, and part of the snout on the face. The museum prepared a special exhibit highlighting the Nanuqsaurus.


This year, the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, combines two special events—Archaeology Day and Earth Discovery Day—into a singular event called Digging the Past, planned for 13 September, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. With a focus on paleontology and archaeology, two sciences often confused by the public, there will be many hands-on activities. For geology this means fossil and mineral collecting piles, children's crafts, egg-carton rock collections, fossil-bed hikes, geology through the microscope, and more. The archaeological side will include a mock dig, pottery making, the use of prehistoric tools, atlatl throwing, and more. Identification of anything geological or archaeological will be provided by experts. The event is cosponsored by the Falls of the Ohio Archaeological Society and the Mineral and Fossil Interest Club. For details, see

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