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November-December 2017

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Museum Notes

THE “EYES” HAVE IT

In mid-July, ten years after a spectacular “alien eye” mineral was unearthed by a miner in the Erongo region of Namibia, an enormous and intensely beautiful specimen—dubbed Eyes of Africa—made its debut in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. Thanks to philanthropist, entrepreneur, and renowned gem collector Lyda Hill, the specimen is now on permanent display at the museum.

The spectacular Eyes of Africa quartz and fluorite specimen from Namibia's Erongo Mountains, now on display at the Perot Museum.

The spectacular Eyes of Africa quartz and fluorite specimen from Namibia's Erongo Mountains, now on display at the Perot Museum. Photo by James Elliott, Fine Minerals International, courtesy Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

The Eyes of Africa is composed of several white quartz crystals and large, green and black fluorites (the alien eyes). Weighing 64.3 pounds, it is 22.8 inches tall and 13.3 inches wide.

MUSEUM OPENS

New on the campus of Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan, is the Geology Mineral Museum. According to Curator David Lowrie, the grand opening in the lower level of the Old Main Building brought in lots of visitors the evening of 19 May. Showcased are the university's most valuable and interesting worldwide minerals—including specimens from Thomas Edison's personal collection—fossils, agates, meteorites, and mining artifacts. The museum will rotate specimens on a regular basis and host special exhibits throughout the year. In the planning stages is a display of fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals.

David Lowrie, curator of the new Geology Mineral Museum at Wayne State University in Detroit.

David Lowrie, curator of the new Geology Mineral Museum at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Some of Wayne State University's Michigan copper specimens against a backdrop of display cases at the museum.

Some of Wayne State University's Michigan copper specimens against a backdrop of display cases at the museum. Photos courtesy Wayne State University.

SPECIAL WEEKEND

In June the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, in Golden, invited Massachusetts artist Fred Wilda to lead two workshops on painting watercolors of minerals. There was an evening session for adults (as a fundraiser) and a (free) morning session for children who are members of the eight Denver-area mineral clubs. Wilda, ably assisted by his wife, Helen Rodak, had participants choose from aquamarine, emerald, and red beryl as their subjects. He then gave instructions on the basics of how to sketch the outline of the crystal and its matrix and distributed painting supplies. It wasn't long before the “masterpieces” were completed, matted, and put in special plastic wrappings.

Budding young artists at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum's mineral painting workshop, led by Fred Wilda with assistance from Helen Rodak.

Budding young artists at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum's mineral painting workshop, led by Fred Wilda with assistance from Helen Rodak. Photo courtesy Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum. 

COLOR SPONSOR for the Museum Notes column for 2017 is Laura Delano of LLD Productions, Inc.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR NAMED

Margaret Hanson has been named the new assistant director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. Theodore Bornhorst, the museum's executive director, made the announcement in June. Hanson has a bachelor's degree in geology and a master's in instructional technology. Her background includes several years of teaching at the middle school level and as a university teaching assistant. A GIA-certified graduate gemologist, she also has retail experience selling gemstones and minerals.

Margaret Hanson, assistant director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

Margaret Hanson, assistant director of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum. Photo courtesy A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum. 

NEW MEXICO SYMPOSIUM

Coming up the weekend of 11–12 November is the Thirty-eighth Annual New Mexico Mineral Symposium at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. Jump-starting the event is an open house/reception on that Friday evening at the institute's still relatively new (in 2015) Mineral Museum.

M.E.H.

Rocks & Minerals welcomes museum news items and photographs for this column. Correspondence should be sent to Marie Huizing, 5341 Thrasher Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45247; rocksandminerals@fuse.net.

 

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