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September-October 2016

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Chips from the Quarry

PERHAMS HONORED: On 6 May, the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum (MMGM), located in Bethel, Maine, hosted its first annual Mineralogical Heritage Award ceremony and banquet. The new award celebrates the sciences and arts that are integral to the museum's mission: to communicate the significance of minerals in our lives, our planet, and beyond. Honorees demonstrate advanced application and significant influence on the science and processes inherent in mining, collecting, crafting, educating, and communicating the relevance of minerals.

At the MMGM's presentation of its first annual Mineral Heritage Award. From left: Frank Perham, MMGM Curator Dr. Carl Francis, Jane Perham, MMGM Director Barbra Barrett, and MMGM Cofounder Dr. Lawrence Stifler.

At the MMGM's presentation of its first annual Mineral Heritage Award. From left: Frank Perham, MMGM Curator Dr. Carl Francis, Jane Perham, MMGM Director Barbra Barrett, and MMGM Cofounder Dr. Lawrence Stifler.

Surrounded by a full house of friends and family, the inaugural recipient of the award was the Perham family of West Paris, Maine, for their multigenerational contribution to the mineral community. The Perhams have been at the core of pegmatite mining in Maine since the 1920s. Stanley and Hazel Perham ran the Maine Mineral Store, later known as Perham's of West Paris. Also honored were their children, Frank Perham, pegmatite miner, and Jane Perham, author and second-generation storeowner, for their vital contributions to developing and promoting Oxford County's mineral wealth. Especially recognized were Jane and Frank's roles in preserving that legacy through her books and the two Perham collections now residing at the MMGM, where they will be displayed and used for educational purposes. The banquet hall was filled with an incredible display of minerals and memorabilia from their collections that helped pay tribute to a lifetime of mining, collecting, and operating the historic storefront that first opened in 1919.

A display of Perham collection minerals and memorabilia.

A display of Perham collection minerals and memorabilia.

Presentations of the MMGM's Mineralogical Heritage Award, in collaboration with the New England Mineral Conference, will take place again in May 2017.

DOUBLE FEATURE: The year was 1990, and the young collector featured in the now-defunct Spotlight on Juniors column was none other than seventeen-year-old Rob Lavinsky, the same guy honored in this issue's Who's Who in Mineral Names column. All grown up now, himself the father of three youngsters, Rob is the owner of The Arkenstone and, because of his many contributions to the hobby, has a mineral, lavinskyite, named after him. What was he doing in the years between when, as a kid, he lived in Columbus, Ohio, and now, as an adult, in Dallas, Texas? You'll have to read Gail and Jim Spann's account, beginning on page 462, to find out.

The article, “Rob Lavinsky, Mineral and Fossil Enthusiast” by Christine Pfaff, which appeared in the January/February 1990 issue of Rocks & Minerals.

The article, “Rob Lavinsky, Mineral and Fossil Enthusiast” by Christine Pfaff, which appeared in the January/February 1990 issue of Rocks & Minerals.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE: Writing of Spotlight on Juniors (above), one of my favorite columns in the series appeared in the November/December 1989 issue and was titled “Yesterday's Juniors, Today's Professionals.” It featured six people, all of whom became professionals in the field, who got interested in minerals as children and attributed their continued interest to the encouragement they received from others: schoolmates, local mineral club members, shop owners, Scout leaders, parents, more experienced collectors, and museum staff—anyone who put forth extra effort to help the youngsters in their chosen hobby. The point was to demonstrate that what we may consider almost insignificant or too unimportant to bother with could launch another person into a fascinating hobby or even a lifetime career.

On the article's first page were pictures of the six kids at about the age when they became interested in minerals. Readers were challenged to guess who they were. A turn of the page pictured the children as adults and described their current jobs. Their identities? Paul E. Desautels (former mineral curator at the Smithsonian Institution), John Sinkankas (well-known author of mineral books), Robert W. Jones (prolific mineral author), Carl A. Francis (then mineral curator at the Harvard Mineralogical Museum), Robert G. Middleton (then collections manager of minerals at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences), and Joel A. Bartsch (then curator of gems and minerals at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum and associate curator of gems and minerals at the Lyman House Memorial Museum).

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK: If the Spotlight on Juniors column has you thinking in terms of mentoring a young person, there's no better time to begin than during Earth Science Week, this year being celebrated 9–16 October. An international event, the week is sponsored by the American Geosciences Institute and is now in its eighteenth year. The theme for 2016 is Our Shared Geoheritage. For the latest information on the many related activities, especially for teachers and schoolchildren, visit www.earthsciweek.org.

MUSEUMS IN MUNICH: So, what treasures do mineral museums keep squirreled away out of public view? What prized specimens make their homes in locked vaults rather than showcases? What new acquisitions haven't yet made it to the main galleries? Enquiring minds want to know; the 2016 Munich Show (28–30 October) wanted to know. So the show committee issued the challenge for museums to bring their “hidden treasures,” those specimens usually kept behind closed doors, and to put them on display for all to see. We'll be there to ooh and aah over them—how about you?

SOCORRO SYMPOSIUM: The new Mineral Museum at New Mexico Tech and its grand opening held in conjunction with the 2015 Socorro Mineral Symposium, described so eloquently by Peter Megaw in the May/June issue (pages 234–238), prompted questions regarding this year's symposium (12–13 November). Yes, there will again be a reception on the Friday evening (11 November) before the symposium. It will be held from 5 to 7 P.M.; however, it's only for Friends of the Museum. For details on becoming a “friend” now, contact Museum Director Dr. Virgil Leuth (vwleuth@nmt.edu) or sign up that evening. For more information on the symposium, including registration, speakers, the banquet, and the field trip, see http://geoinfo.nmt.edu/museum/minsymp/home.cfml.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The Houston Gem and Mineral Society, in memory of Arthur E. Smith, and the Cincinnati Mineral Society underwrote color costs in the Connoisseur's Choice column; Maryanne and John Fender (Fender Minerals) did the same for the Museum Notes column. Donors to the Color Fund contributed toward color in the remaining columns and articles. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in the magazine.       

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