Support the Rice Museum by Shopping at Freddy’s

Fred Meyer Community Rewards logo.

Want to know a super easy way to support the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals? You can now help the Rice NW Museum earn donations just by shopping at Fred Meyer with your Rewards Card!

To link your Rewards Card to the Community Rewards program:

  1. Register your card
  2. Search for the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals by our unique non-profit organization number: 85221 or by name.

That’s it. Every time you shop using your Fred Meyer Rewards Card you earn points and you are donating to the museum. On a quarterly basis, Fred Meyer sends a donation check to the Rice Northwest Museum. Your shopping supports our programs and activities.

If you don’t already have a Fred Meyer Rewards Card, you can sign up for one at the Customer Service Desk at any Fred Meyer store. Remember, you earn rewards points, fuel points, downloadable coupons, and more, and the Rice Northwest Museum can earn donations. It’s a win-win!

While shopping at Fred Meyer, be sure and let them know how much you appreciate this easy way to donate and support local charities.

What’s in the Box? Old Familiar Places

The outdoorsy among us who have spent time in the Seattle area are surely familiar with Mount Si, a popular hiking destination close to the city. But did you know that Mount Si hosts beautiful minerals as well as incredible views?

Quartz with dravite

This specimen is on its way back to the box after three months on display in the Washington County Museum in Hillsboro, OR. It is a plate of quartz crystals covered with dravite tourmaline from the Bald Hornet claims on Mount Si in Washington state.

The Bald Hornet claims were developed in the aftermath of the 1869 discovery of iron ore in the Snoqualmie Pass area. While these small-time claims did not manage to produce any economic ores, they did give us crystallized mineral specimens like these. Such specimens are generally associated with contact zones, where intrusive granitic rocks interacted with surrounding sedimentary rock, especially limestone.

(Mining claim information sourced from “Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines (Vol. 1)”, ed. Ina Chang.)

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

Faceting Classes 2015 – 2016 Schedule

Columbia-Willamette_Faceters_Guild_logo.

The Columbia Willamette Faceters Guild has released its schedule of classes for Beginning Gemstone Faceting at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals for the 2015-2016 year. If you would like information on these and future classes, please contact the museum directly.

Participants and students are introduced to the theory and techniques of faceting gemstones. During the course, students will facet one or two gemstones with material and equipment provided by the Faceter’s Guild. Students gain sufficient knowledge to continue faceting on their own.

The classes are held in the Rice Northwest Museum’s Faceting Lab. The classes offer 20 hours of instruction across 4 or 5 classes (depending on session chosen) with 5 day  sessions taught from 1 to 5 PM and 4 day sessions from 12 PM until 5 PM. All equipment and materials are provided and students get to keep all stones completed in the class. Continue reading

Rice Northwest Museum Featured on What’s Hot in Tucson 2015

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals’ exhibit at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show(R) was featured in “What’s Hot in Tucson 2015,” documentary produced by Blue Cap Productions.  Each year Blue Cap Productions produces a feature length documentary of the Tucson show, the world’s largest show of its kind.

Host Bob Jones is a long-time fan of the Rice Northwest Museum. He interviewed Leslie Moclock, our curator, about the uniqueness of the exhibit. The theme of the event was minerals from western Europe. The Rice Northwest Museum exhibit broadened the scope focusing on Lead Minerals from Europe featuring pyromorphite found in Germany in 1894, the largest known sample of phosgenite, and other rare lead crystals, winning the Friends of Mineralogy Educational Award for best educational exhibit by an institution. Lead is typically thought of as a dull grayish substance used in batteries and solder, and the goal of this exhibit was to show off the beauty of classic minerals that contain lead.

Executive Director Julian Gray talked about the history and development of the museum, and its change from a private to public non-profit, expanding the scope and future of the museum.

This is a great look at the many outreach programs Rice Northwest Museum offers at various rock, gem, and mineral shows around North America as well as the educational programs we offer, expanding your ideas on rocks, gems, and minerals.

What’s In The Box? A Light in the Dark

You’ll almost never see gorgeous red realgar crystals on display, and if you do, it won’t be for long. Why? It turns out that realgar is one of several minerals that changes and degrades when exposed to light.

Realgar crystal

Realgar from Shimen, Changde Prefecture, Hunan, China

If left on display, this light-sensitive crystal would begin to turn dark and eventually change into an entirely different mineral: the powdery orange pararealgar, shown below. This happens because of the energy carried in certain wavelengths of light. When that energy hits atoms in the crystal, it causes some of their atomic bonds to break and rearrange into a different structure. For this reason, realgar is one mineral that will always stay inside the box!

Pararealgar crystals

Pararealgar from Royal Reward Mine, King County, Washington, USA

Even common minerals like amethyst and fluorite can begin to fade over time, especially if exposed to bright sunlight for long periods. We recommend displaying your treasures on a shelf rather than a windowsill.

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

August 22: Downtown PDX Geology Tour

The Geological Society of the Oregon Country is presenting a special event in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, August 22, 2015, at 9AM. It is a two-hour walking tour of Downtown PDX Geology.

The outdoor walking tour is open to the public, though children under 12 must be supervised. It’s a fun opportunity to explore the geological mysteries and oddities of downtown Portland and see billion-year old building stones and fossils hidden under your feet.

For more information, check out their event announcement.

Note: This is not a museum sponsored event.

2015 Fossil Fest Speakers and Activities

The 10th Annual Northwest Fossil Fest at the Rice Northwest Museum is this weekend, sponsored by NARG, the North American Research Group. The Theme this year is The Pleistocene Epoch and they have a round of amazing speakers and presentations that will tickle your fossil fancy.

The lecture schedule for Saturday is:

11:00am – “The Beringia Land Mass of the Ice Age” by Greg Carr/NARG member

12:30pm – “The Yamhill Pleistocene Project” by Mike Full, Director of the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project

2:00pm – “Ice Age Fossils in Woodburn, Oregon” by Dave Ellingson, Educator, Woodburn High School, Oregon

David Ellingson, Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project

Odulia Flores and Woodburn Science Teacher David Ellingston with school fossil projectDavid Ellingson will be speaking on the Pleistocene peat bog found on the campus of Woodburn High School, and founded the Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project. The project has gained national recognition and acclaim with articles like “Biology teacher has a bone to pick with awareness” and “Digging Up Dirt on the Past” in the Woodburn News locally.

The high school science teacher is lucky to have an Ice Age dig site right on the school campus, and Ellingson uses it to bring to life their archaeology and geology studies. He leads fossil hunt field trips throughout the Willamette Valley. The students have found mammoth tracks, evidence of baby mammoths, possible horn core of a Bison latrifons, sloth, horse, and mastodon, and other animal fossils, as well as evidence of an animal with a seven-foot horn span.

The following is a 30 second, time-lapse video of a dig in 2013 called the Woodburn Fossil Rescue Dig by NARG.

Continue reading

Thanks to Our Summer Festival Sponsors

Summer Festival 2015 is getting closer; August 1-2 is just a few days away. An event this large would not be possible without the generous support of our community friends and sponsors.  We are proud to introduce you to some of those sponsors for our Summer Festival 2015.

Thanks to their generosity, we have great raffle prizes and freebies for participants. These all help support the educational programming at the Rice Northwest Museum.

Be sure and stop by these businesses and thank them for their continued support of the Rice Northwest Museum and rock and mineral community of the Pacific Northwest.

IMPORTANT ROAD CONSTRUCTION ALERT:  Please note that Helvetia Road will be closed August 8, 2015 because of construction.  Not to worry!  Just follow our detour instructions and be alert for detour signs to guide you to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals and the 2015 Summer Festival.