2015 Summer Festival August 1-2

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2015 Summer Fest FlierJoin us for the 12th Annual Summer Festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 1-2, 2015, 10AM to 5PM, at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. The weekend event includes vendors with minerals, fossils, gems, jewelry, gold panning, lapidary demonstrations, geode cutting, and a variety of activities for the young and old.

There will be local food available for purchase and live music, and the famous Flintstones Mobile will make an appearance.

A silent auction, raffles, and door prizes will be held throughout the day.

Admission is $5 for adults, free for students 17 years old and under. A great experience for the whole family!

Bring your inner rock hound and join us for a fabulous Summer Festival.

Belong to a local school or rock club? Download and print and share the Rice NW Museum 2015 Summer Fest Flyer.

July 15: Central Oregon Rock Club Lecture

Richard and Helen Rice - founders of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals - circa 1980s.Julian Gray will be speaking at the July 15, 2015, at the Central Oregon Rock Club in Bend, Oregon, at 7 PM.

While the topic, of course, will be rocks and minerals, he will also be covering the history of the museum founders, Richard and Helen Rice. Their love and passion for rockhounding began collecting agate on Agate Beach in Oregon. Among the many treasures they found with their family were ordinary pebbles that were quickly turned into gemstone wonders with a little rock polishing. Determined to share their excitement, they became active in local and regional rock clubs, with Helen eventually leading the national rock club association. Their true legacy is the museum that bears their name, continuing to inspire rockhounds of all ages. Richard and Helen built their dream home with built in display cases for their collection and rooms dedicated to polishing gems and making jewelry. For this month’s program the museum’s director, Julian Gray, will take us on a visual tour of the Rice Northwest Museum and the unique building that houses this remarkable collection.

Julian Gray is is the executive director of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, a geologist, former curator of the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, and co-author of the upcoming book, Minerals of Georgia. He holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in geology from Georgia State University. He relocated to Oregon in 2014 to take the reins of the Rice Northwest Museum.

July 7: Columbia Willamette Faceter’s Guild Lecture

Richard and Helen Rice with awards for collections - founders of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals - circa 1950s.Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Mineral’s Executive Director, Julian Gray will be speaking at the July 7, 2015, Columbia Willamette Faceter’s Guild on the history of the museum founders.

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals began as the personal collection of two avid rockhounds: Richard and Helen Rice. Richard and Helen’s love of rock collecting began on Agate Beach, were they discovered that ordinary pebbles could be turned into beautiful gemstone treasures. They collected rocks and minerals and learned to polish gems. They also became active in local and regional rock clubs. But their legacy is the museum that bears their name. Richard and Helen built their dream home with built in display cases for their collection and rooms dedicated to polishing gems and making jewelry. The museum’s director, Julian Gray, will take you on a visual tour of the Rice NW Museum and the unique building that houses this remarkable collection.

The event will be at 7:30PM at OMSI in Portland, Oregon. For more information, see the guild’s site.

Julian Gray is a geologist, former curator of the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, and co-author of the upcoming book, Minerals of Georgia. He holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in geology from Georgia State University. He relocated to Oregon in 2014 to take the reins of the Rice Northwest Museum.

What’s In The Box? Picture’s worth a thousand…

One of the most famous lapidary materials to have ever come from Oregon, Biggs Picture Jasper has captivated many with its beautiful blue and brown lines and swirls. This slab’s pattern is characteristic of the early material found near the town of Biggs Junction.

Biggs Jasper

Biggs Jasper was discovered by modern rockhounds in 1964 after a massive flood tore through the canyons just south of the intersection between US-97 and present-day I-84. The excitement over the find was so great that road repairs in one canyon were briefly delayed while rock enthusiasts removed boulders of the material, according to rockhound Dale Rhode. Biggs Jasper stands out best when cut and polished as cabochons or slabs.

Jaspers are a grainy variety of chalcedony (silicon dioxide) rendered opaque by incorporation of other minerals and foreign material. Brown, red, yellow, and white colors are most common; the blue of Biggs Jasper stands out.

This is part of our What’s in the Box? series.

What’s In The Box? Playing with color

The most famous precious opal in the US comes from Virgin Valley in Humboldt County, Nevada. Petrified tree trunks buried in volcanic tuffs have developed opals with gorgeous play of color.

Opal held in hand.

In this specimen, white common opal infills large holes, while blue and green precious opal is found in pores preserving the tree trunk’s original grain structure. This specimen is from Richard and Helen Rice’s original family collection.

Have you ever collected opal from Virgin Valley? Where are some of your favorite opal localities?

This is part of our What’s in the box? series.

Sneak Peek: Find out “What’s In The Box?”

What's in the box? written over boxes of rocks and minerals.Join us for a new, online feature and discover “What’s In The Box?” with curator Leslie Moclock. Leslie will take you behind the scenes to see some of the beautiful and interesting specimens currently off display. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Instagram to see photos and learn a little about each one as we dig deeper into our rock and mineral inventory.

We are in the midst of a massive Collections inventory project that, when completed, will allow us to start rotating some of these back room beauties into the galleries for display. “What’s in the Box?” gives YOU a sneak peek here first! Discover our hidden treasures as Leslie makes her way through Collections storage. Curious to know more about a particular object? Simply reply to the original post on your social media platform of choice with your questions. And don’t forget to share these finds with your friends!

Curator Leslie Moclock stands at table with rock and mineral specimens at Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Check out #RiceWITB and find out “What’s In The Box?” along with Leslie as she uncovers these treasures and shares them with you! If you want to see even more photos of collections items, don’t forget to join us on Facebook for Mystery Mineral Mondays, too.

Meteorite and Family Fun Day this Saturday, May 23rd

Come out tomorrow between 10 AM and 5 PM for meteorite talks and science activities here at the Rice Museum. Admission will be reduced to $5 per person for the day (children 4 and under are still free). Check out the schedule of events below. In addition to the listed events, kids’ crafts will be running and available all day!

Meteorite Day Schedule Descriptions