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November-December 2015

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Museum Notes

Pictured are David Friend (center) with Peabody Museum Director David Skelly (right) and Prof. Jay Ague, the museum's curator of mineralogy.

Pictured are David Friend (center) with Peabody Museum Director David Skelly (right) and Prof. Jay Ague, the museum's curator of mineralogy.

NEW GALLERY PLANNED

The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, in New Haven, Connecticut, has received a $4 million gift from Carbonite founder and executive chair David Friend to renovate the museum's auditorium into a state-of-the art mineral and gem gallery and multipurpose programming space. Friend will also establish an endowment to support the displays and programming within the space.

The mineral and gem gallery will provide a distinctive venue for the Peabody's more than three hundred programs a year, including lectures, classes, dinners, and special events. In addition to accommodating public programming, the new hall will enhance the teaching mission of the Peabody by drawing Yale students into the museum for classes and activities.

Friend received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Yale in 1969. He joined the Peabody Leadership Council in 2014. The nineteen-member council provides philanthropic support and advocacy for the Peabody's academic mission to advance knowledge and understanding of Earth's history, life, and cultures. Friend is also a member of a newly established museum mineral council, a small group of distinguished mineral enthusiasts and collectors across the United States that will advise Prof. Jay Ague, the Peabody's curator of mineralogy, on developing the museum's collection.

Transporting the 17-ton copper slab to its place of honor at the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

Transporting the 17-ton copper slab to its place of honor at the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

COPPER GOLIATH

Since 2001 an approximately 17-ton slab of native copper, recovered from Lake Superior, has been on permanent loan to the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Because of its immense size, the slab holds the Guinness world record as being the largest copper boulder recovered from the bottom of Lake Superior. Readers may recall that Tom Rosemeyer told the story in text and photos of its difficult and complicated recovery in the November/December 2002 issue of Rocks & Minerals (pages 378–394).

The slab was temporarily exhibited by the Quincy Mine Hoist Association from 2001 until its recent move, in June of this year, to its new home, the Seaman Museum, of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. There it was placed on a custom-built stand with a pavilion erected to protect it from the weather. The Copper Pavilion, as it is known, was dedicated on 3 August. Those on the museum staff agree that the slab is by far the largest specimen currently under their curation.

The copper slab in its new home in the Copper Pavilion.

The copper slab in its new home in the Copper Pavilion.

OUT OF THIS WORLD

On display through 4 January 2016 at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Pittsburgh, is Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age. The exhibition brings together scientific fact and pop culture in a showcase of wearable and decorative arts related to outer space, space travel, the space age, and the powerful influence these subjects have had on human civilization.

Beginning with jewelry and artifacts memorializing the appearance of Halley's Comet in 1835, Out of This World! travels forward through time to explore nearly two hundred objects from landmark moments in space-related history. Some of the jewelry is made with materials from space, including meteorites; other pieces are made from materials created or used during the space race, such as polymer, titanium, and fiber-optic glass. The exhibition is on view in the Wertz Gallery of Gems and Jewelry, part of the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems.

Dynasty Ring by Mark Schneider, designed to look like the machine used to make contact with alien life in the movie Contact.

Two of the Out of This World! jewelry pieces now on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Left: The Tampa Necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, featuring a rocket and a trail of diamonds, inspired by Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon.

Right: Dynasty Ring by Mark Schneider, designed to look like the machine used to make contact with alien life in the movie Contact.

FAMOUS DIAMONDS

Legendary Diamonds is drawing visitors to the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Arts, in Elmhurst, Illinois, where it continues through 3 January. The exhibition tells the fascinating stories of some of history's most famous diamonds and their equally famous owners. Four visual vignettes, with accessible QR code audio, trace the most current historical research of the diamonds, divulging their mysterious backgrounds as they were sold, traded, looted, recut, and repurposed. Blending the lapidary art of faceting with figural artistry, the exhibit presents replicas created by Scott Sucher in cubic zirconium of the Hope, Orlov, Table Cut, and Regent diamonds along with three-dimensional one-quarter life-sized figures of nine historical characters from India, France, Russia, and United States, all related to the diamonds' stories and all created by George Stuart.

BOOK SIGNING

Exciting news comes from Jose Santamaria, director of the Tellus Science Museum, in Cartersville, Georgia; Julian Gray, former curator at that museum (and now director of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals); and Dr. Robert Cook, of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

A new edition of Minerals of Georgia, written by Cook and Gray and edited by Santamaria, will be published in February 2016. Fifteen years in the making, this 360-page edition includes updates on many Georgia mineral localities and more than 150 color photographs illustrating the rich mineral heritage of the Peach State. On 4 February 2016, at 7 P.M., Cook, Gray, and Santamaria will lecture about the book at a book-release event at Tellus Museum. A reception and book-signing will follow.

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