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July-August 2015

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Museum Notes


Coming up in September is the annual reception/open house held at the Geology Museum at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. Details are given in the Letters column (p. 305) in this issue. Also in September is the meeting of the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP), which, as always, will be held in conjunction with the Denver Show (18–20 September).


The award-winning institutional exhibit put in the 2015 Tucson Show by the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals.

Congratulations to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, in Hillsboro, Oregon, for winning the National Friends of Mineralogy Award for the best educational exhibit by an institution at this year's February Tucson Show. Curator Leslie Moclock prepared the exhibit, which had lead minerals as its theme.

Alex Schauss, president of Friends of Mineralogy, presenting Leslie Moclock, curator at the Rice Museum, with the group's award for best institutional exhibit at the Tucson Show.

The Smithsonian Institution also was singled out for recognition, taking home the show's Betty and Clayton Gibson Memorial Trophy for their display.


Billed as “Arizona's first inhabitants,” trilobites fill the display cases at the Flandrau Science Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Meet the Trilobites features world-class trilobite fossils from around the globe recently donated to the university by Bob and Margie Hazen. Long before dinosaurs ruled the earth, trilobites ruled the seas, flourishing in the warm waters that covered much of Arizona millions of years ago. The exhibition opened in time to be enjoyed by visitors in town for the February Tucson Show and will continue through the end of the year.

Two of the many spectacular displays of trilobites at the University of Arizona's Flandrau Center.


Two of the carvings at the GIA Museum, from the Dreher gem-carving dynasty in Germany.      Above: Carving by Gerd Dreher, 17 × 10 cm, from a single piece of multicolored agate.

More than twenty intricately carved and lifelike animal sculptures by world-renowned gemstone carvers Gerd and Patrick Dreher are currently on exhibit at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Museum in Carlsbad, California. The Dreher family, whose legacy dates back five generations, is part of a 600-year gemstone carving tradition in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, a major center for the cutting and carving of gems.

Carving by Gerd Dreher, 10.5 × 10 cm, in grossular garnet with shale.

Some of the animals depicted in Generations of Mastery: Gemstone Carvings by Dreher are a mouse, chameleon, starfish, and frog. Materials used in the one-of-a-kind sculptures include jasper, agate, tourmaline, ruby in zoisite, smoky quartz, and grossular garnet. The pieces are on loan from the Bill Larson family (Pala International) of Fallbrook, California. The exhibit continues through the summer.


The Canadian Museum of Nature, in Ottawa, Ontario, recently launched a new national traveling exhibition about minerals, titled simply Minerals. Before beginning its national tour in April, the exhibition was presented at the museum. Included are about ninety stunning specimens drawn from the museum's collection. They are clustered in cases according to themes that explain where minerals come from, their variations in form and function, the science of studying them, and their common or unusual uses.

Now on tour is this module display of minerals from the Canadian Museum of Nature.

In addition to specimens, there are interactive elements to enrich the learning experience: a display from the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, showing the people behind the country's mineral and mining discoveries; a quiz that tests knowledge of commercial uses of minerals; a magnifier to view the intricate structure of crystals; and a discovery box that reveals splashy neon colors when minerals fluoresce under ultraviolet radiation.

The 60-square-meter exhibition is housed in modules so it can be shipped and adapted to exhibit spaces in other facilities. Since 1973 the museum has produced and toured more than sixty diverse exhibitions.

Readers will recall that the Vale Earth Gallery in the Canadian Museum of Nature was the subject of an article by Susan Robinson in the May/June 2015 issue of Rocks & Minerals (pages 224–232).       

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