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September-October 2016

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Museum Notes

EASTER IN THE NORTHWEST

Everything but the Easter bunny was being offered at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, in Hillsboro, Oregon, on 26 March of this year. Capitalizing on the fact that the thunderegg is the state rock of Oregon, the museum conducted its own version of an old-fashioned Easter egg hunt: Thunderegg Stravaganza. Nearly twelve hundred people, mostly excited kids, attended the event, hunting for plastic eggs to exchange for real, uncut thundereggs from the famous Richardson's Ranch near Madras, Oregon. Museum volunteers then cut these rocks to reveal the inner beauty of the treasures. The volunteers also shared the geologic story of the “eggs,” which are found in rhyolite beds throughout the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, Museum Curator Leslie Moclock served up lectures on Oregon's geology periodically during the day.

In addition to hunting for thundereggs at the Rice Museum this past March, kids could dig through this rockpile, stocked by local mineral clubs, and keep their favorite specimen; museum staff and volunteers did the identification.

In addition to hunting for thundereggs at the Rice Museum this past March, kids could dig through this rockpile, stocked by local mineral clubs, and keep their favorite specimen; museum staff and volunteers did the identification.

A beaming museum visitor is happy with his thunderegg!

A beaming museum visitor is happy with his thunderegg!

MUSEUM OPENING

The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, in Bethel, Maine, has announced that its exhibit halls will fully open to select groups in May 2017, with its formal opening shortly thereafter. The museum's store, preview gallery, and MP2 research laboratory are already open, and educational programming is underway.

The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in Bethel, Maine.

The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in Bethel, Maine.

PERSONNEL UPDATE

Beginning as the collection manager of minerals at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, in Dallas, was Christopher Holl. He came to the position in April of this year with a PhD in geology from the University of Colorado—Boulder. Before that, he was at Northwestern University and Princeton University, where he served as gem and mineral collection manager for four years.

Christopher Holl, now at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Christopher Holl, now at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Joining the staff at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History last year as associate curator in the Mineral Sciences Department was Aaron Celestian. Prior to that he was an associate professor of geology at Western Kentucky University for eight years. He received his bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Arizona (1999) and both his master's (2002) and PhD (2006) from Stony Brook University. He is also an associate editor of the American Mineralogist.

Aaron Celestian, now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

Aaron Celestian, now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

GLITTERING TEASURES

Currently at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia, a world-class exhibition focusing on the museum's collection of jewels from ancient Nubia (located in what is now Sudan). Nubia was known for its exotic luxury goods, especially gold. Featured, in addition to gold objects, are excavated ornaments from an early twentieth-century expedition by the museum and Harvard University. Included are more than one hundred treasures, prized for their materials, craftsmanship, symbolism, and rarity; they date from 1700 b.c. to A.D. 300. These centuries-old royal ornaments feature bracelets, necklaces, amulets, and earrings. Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, blue chalcedony from Turkey, amethystine quartz and carnelian, as well as enamel and glass, are among the materials used by the artisans. The exhibition opened on 14 July 2014 and continues through 8 January 2017.       

Two of the more than one hundred items featured in the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Two of the more than one hundred items featured in the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Gold winged Isis pectoral, 538–519 B.C.

Gold winged Isis pectoral, 538–519 B.C.                   

Blue-glazed quartz necklace with pendant, 1700–550 B.C.

Blue-glazed quartz necklace with pendant, 1700–550 B.C.                   

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