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May-June 2015

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Museum Notes

NEW MUSEUM

Having a grand opening just before this past Christmas was the 238,000-square-foot Musée des Confluences (Museum of Confluences) in Lyon, the second largest metropolitan area (after Paris) in France. The $225 million building sits at the tip of a peninsula on one of the most spectacular sites in the country, the confluence of the majestic Rhône and Saône rivers. The entrance is encased in a glass-and-steel “crystal,” and there are two stories of black-box galleries for exhibitions. Two auditoriums, conference rooms, and service areas are on the lower level.

As far as displays are concerned, the museum embraces a variety of disciplines: mineralogy, zoology, paleontology, entomology, and ethnography.

Those going to the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Show, 25–28 June, might want to make Lyon part of their travel plans. Whether transportation is by car, boat, bicycle, or on foot, the Museum of Confluences is designed to accommodate.

The Museum of Confluences in Lyon, France.

The Museum of Confluences in Lyon, France.

NEWS FROM TELLUS

In early December of last year, the Tellus Science Museum, in Cartersville, Georgia, unveiled the special exhibition Jeweled Objects of Desire, which showcases treasures from the vaults of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. On display in the Weinman Mineral Gallery are such items as a gold and diamond mousetrap, a 3,000-carat blue topaz, and a historic hand-carved ivory camel encrusted with emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and diamonds. In all there are forty-seven dazzling gems and jeweled items. Featured pieces include the art of jewelry designer Sidney Mobell, who has created tongue-in-cheek jewelry for the rich and powerful, from Queen Elizabeth to Walt Disney Company executives. Various other jewelry designers carry out the theme of transforming simple materials into striking treasures. The exhibit continues through the end of October 2015.

Coming up soon is the museum's Rockfest, its annual gem and mineral show featuring fine mineral, gem, fossil, and meteorite dealers set up inside the museum and outside on the museum grounds. Family activities, games, and refreshments add to the festive event. This year's dates are 13–14 June.

Two of the many jeweled pieces on display at the Tellus Museum. Above: An ivory jeweled camel, highlighted in gold and containing 500 round and brilliant-cut diamonds and cabochons of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.

Two of the many jeweled pieces on display at the Tellus Museum. Above: An ivory jeweled camel, highlighted in gold and containing 500 round and brilliant-cut diamonds and cabochons of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.

The Pomegranate, an 18-karat sunburst brooch, with 181 yellow and brown diamonds around a center diamond.

The Pomegranate, an 18-karat sunburst brooch, with 181 yellow and brown diamonds around a center diamond.

JEWELRY FEATURED

There's been sparkle a-plenty at the National Museum of the American Indian, in New York City, since the opening, this past November, of Glittering World: Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family. The exhibition features more than three hundred examples of contemporary jewelry made by members of the Yazzie family of Gallup, New Mexico, and tells the story of the artisans as well as their craftsmanship. The family is one of the most celebrated jewelry-making families in the Native art world. The silver, gold, and stone inlay work of brothers Lee and Raymond, which is featured throughout the exhibition, has won every major award for artisanship, and their sister, Mary Marie, whose work is also on display, has dedicated much of her craft to fine bead- and stonework. Silver beads are handmade by other sisters. Many of the materials used have both spiritual and economic value for Navajo peoples and are sacred stones in Navajo beliefs. The exhibition continues through 10 January 2016.

Among the many items now at New York City's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) are these two bracelets. Left: Silver inlaid with coral, turquoise, and lapis lazuli, with 14-karat gold accents. Right: Lapis lazuli with 18-karat gold.

Among the many items now at New York City's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) are these two bracelets. Left: Silver inlaid with coral, turquoise, and lapis lazuli, with 14-karat gold accents. Right: Lapis lazuli with 18-karat gold.

BEING RENOVATED

The Falls of the Ohio State Park, in Clarksville, Indiana, is the site of a Middle Devonian coral-stromatoporoid bioherm that was established in 1990. In 1994, the 16,000-square-foot Interpretive Center was opened with 4,000 square feet of exhibit space. In November 2014, the facility closed for building renovations and installation of new exhibits. Once renovations are completed the Interpretive Center is expected to have a grand re-opening in September 2015.

The new interactive, immersive exhibits and building renovations are the result of a $6 million fundraising campaign by the Falls of the Ohio Foundation, the nonprofit support organization for the state park. The new exhibits have been developed in partnership with Solid Light, a Louisville-based museum exhibit design company. The park remains open during the renovation. See www.fallsoftheohio.org for updates.

MUSEUM TOURS

Many special activities are scheduled for the seventy-fifth annual show and convention of the Midwest Federation of Mineralogical and Geological Societies, this year being held 22–24 June in Wheaton, Illinois. Included are tours of the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Arts, in Elmhurst, Illinois, and the museum in the Meyer Science Center at Wheaton College.

The Lizzadro Museum is known for its wonderful displays of the lapidary arts. The Meyer Science Center houses a spectacular mastodon as well as the worldwide collection of the late Arthur E. Smith, a Wheaton graduate who was based in Houston, Texas. In all, Smith bequeathed his alma mater some thirty thousand specimens, including minerals, fossils, and carvings. Those not on display are part of the geology department's reference collection. Wheaton College's Department of Geology has a vast inventory of high-quality specimens that will be available for purchase at prices well below their retail value. Proceeds from any sales are used to aid student field trip and research opportunities.

For further information on the show and museum tours, see website cgma.squarespace.com.

 

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