The national organization Friends of Mineralogy awarded the Rice Museum with a top honors for “Best Educational Exhibit by an Institution” at the 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® (TGMS) for our display, “Lead Minerals.”
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®, the World’s largest such show, draws an estimated 50,000 visitors each year. The show invites museums, private collectors, and clubs from around the world to create display cases with their best specimens related to the annual theme. The TGMS began as a club show housed in a local elementary school in 1954, and today is a premiere international event that gives visitors a chance to view specimens from some of the world’s finest mineral collections.
This year’s show theme was “Minerals of Western Europe.” Mineral science as we know it today has its roots in European scholarship and mining development, and this theme inspired many displays focused on historical collections and famous European localities.
The Rice Museum display combined superb mineral specimens from well-known localities with mineral science education. The display theme, minerals containing the element lead, was chosen to demonstrate how useful and beautiful lead minerals can be. The vibrant green pyromorphite, yellow mimetite, and lustrous red wulfenite on display contrast with the popular notion of lead as nothing but a dull metal. The display also discussed how the crystal structures in some lead minerals contribute to their crystal shapes, and the importance of lead ores and mining in ancient history.
Tying in with the show theme, European specimens in the display included a green pyromorphite plate from Les Farges Mine, France (center); green and brown pyromorphite from Friedrichssegen Mine, Germany; green pyromorphite from Chaillac Mine, France; vitreous white anglesite from Monteponi Mine, Italy; and one of the world’s largest phosgenite crystals, also from Monteponi Mine, Italy.
Education is at the heart of all that we do at the Rice Museum, and we are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts at the 2015 TGMS.