About Staff

The staff at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals are experts and passionate about the lapidary arts and earth sciences, and eager to share their knowledge with you.

Summer Fest August 6-7, 2016

Our annual Summer Fest 2016 will be at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals Saturday and Sunday, August 6-7, 2016. This year will be bigger than ever! The hours are 10 AM – 5 PM. Admission is only $5, and kids 17 and under are FREE.

Geodes and other minerals and rocks for sale at vendor booth.The outdoor festival features a wide variety of rock, mineral, gem, and fossil dealers. We will have food, music, and plenty of fun family activities. Of course, our favorites Fred and Wilma Flintstone will be rolling in on the famous Flintmobile to give “rides” to children and adults.

Rock clubs from around the region will be offering wonderful educational displays, demonstrations, and activities.

The road construction is complete so you will have no problem finding your way through the new interchange at Highway 26 and Helvetia.

Come early and stay the whole day. The entire museum will be open during this event, so you can explore all our displays after browsing vendors’ tents and creating a “pet rock.” Bring a picnic lunch or enjoy the refreshments at the museum. It’s a perfect event to spend with friends and family. Bring them all!



Northwest and American Federation of Mineralogical Societies Event in Albany, Oregon

Precious gems and minerals on display in vendor's booth.Oregon state is privileged this year to be honored with the Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies Federation Show at the same time as the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies holds their region meeting in Albany, Oregon, July 29-31, 2016. The event is at the Linn County Fair Grounds and Expo Building just off I-5.

Presented by the Willamette Agate and Mineral Society, this year’s theme is “Treasures of the Northwest.”

Rarely do the two federations come together for a single event, so we are honored to have some of the best geologists, collectors, and rock hounds share their passion with so many in one place.

There will be over 200 display cases, and a vast variety of vendors, lectures, daily field trips to a local petrified wood locale, and a silent auction to help raise money for the group. The schedule (pdf) is packed for each day.

Some of the speakers’ topics include a learning about the fossils of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, studying rocks from a microscopic view, learning more about the newly discovered thalattosaurs, coastal rockhounding, petrified wood, and more.

There are local hotels and campgrounds offering show discounts if you are heading for the full event.

The Rice Museum representatives will be there and we hope to see you there, too!

Julian Gray Featured on KUIK Radio

Executive Director, Julian Gray, was recently interviewed on KUIK Radio by Hillsboro, Oregon, Chamber of Commerce President, Deanna Palm.

Julian discussed the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals and why it is so popular and recognized internationally. He spoke about the history of the museum and how it inspires children today to become rockhounds, collectors, geologists, and scientists through its school tours and educational programs and events.

This is an excerpt from the full show featuring Julian Gray on YouTube.

Here is the full show.

Rice Northwest Museum Featured on Carl in the Morning on XRAY.fm

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals’ executive director, Julian Gray, was interviewed on XRAY.fm radio’s “Carl in the Morning” show by Carl Wolfson and Kate Bush on Friday November 6, 2015.

In the interview, Carl noted that the Rice NW Museum was highlighted in a recent New York Times article. During their lively conversation they talked about the diverse, beautiful exhibits at the museum including petrified wood, gemstones, thundereggs, and more. They also talked about the museum’s educational programs and events.

Have a listen:

Scenes from Summer Festival 2015

Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Summer Fest guest in Flintmobile.Summer Fest 2015 at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals was a resounding success with more than a thousand in attendance in spite of high temperatures and road closures in the area.

Rock clubs and groups from around the Pacific Northwest were there to provide educational fun as well with geode cracking and gold panning among the many highlights. Vendors from around the country offered a wide range of rocks, minerals, and gems for every type of interest for collector or jewelry lover. The children’s area brought glue, paper, ribbons, and beads together with rocks for some creative artwork.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone were there for the entire weekend, entertaining children in the Flintmobile and exploring the ancient rocks and fossils on display. Many children enjoyed exploring the rock cave.

Leslie Moclock, museum curator.Curator Leslie Moclock and volunteer Barb Epstien kept the silent auction going through the busy weekend, with many auction winnings bringing treasures back with children and adults. Many people went home with more rock and jewelry prizes in the hourly drawings.

Thanks to all the vendors, rock clubs, exhibitors, sponsors, and the many volunteers for a great weekend. Without all of you, this special annual event would not happen. Much of the thanks go to you, our members, and fans. Your continuing support keeps us going and helps to provide world class exhibits and diverse educational programs all year long. If you are not a member, consider becoming a member. 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.

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

2015 Summer Festival: A preview of our vendors, exhibitors, and food

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals’ Annual Summer Festival is right around the corner on August 1-2, 2015, and we have a fantastic list of vendors, exhibits, and rock clubs coming to dazzle everyone.

We are honored to have exhibits and representatives of the following rock, gem, and mineral clubs at Summer Festival. They will be presenting a variety of demonstrations with activities for children and families as well.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone will be there the whole weekend with their Flintmobile giving “rides” to kids of all ages. Come get your photograph taken with these amazing living cartoon characters and rockhounds.

OMSI will have an exhibit exploring the science of rocks and minerals.

We have a wide range of vendors bringing their beautiful rocks, minerals, fossils, and gemstones for you to buy as well as demonstrations of lapidary and jewelry making.  Our exhibitors include the following:

  • Sharleen Harvey
  • “Days Past” with Marian Carroll
  • “Earthly Treasures” with Jim and Sherry Smith
  • “Fred and Wilma Flintstone” with Mitch Metcalf
  • Global Mineral” with Krista Dennis
  • Grand Products, Ltd” with Boris Chen and Ellen Law
  • “Nature’s Art” with Mikala Eslinger
  • “Rare Earth Exploration” with Austin Arp
  • Steve Falconbury
  • “The 3rd Rock” with Alise Lundmark
  • “Treasures by Tilgner” with Lamar and Merlia Tilgner
  • Viper Lapidary” with Tiffany Jackson
  • “Art and Artifact” with Paul Foulon
  • Lost Viking” with Eric Chilson
  • “Camelsmith Gems” with Len Rummel
  • “Martell and Martell Rock Shop” with Brian and Peggy Martell
  • “F-R-O-G Creations” with Sandy Metheany
  • “The Hummingbird Kisser” with Kimberly Brown

Food trucks by  Momo’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (Saturday) and Alvaros Tacos (Sunday) will be there for the hungry masses.  And we are thrilled to have Jerico Road joining us for some lively musical entertainment Sunday as well.

The fun starts Saturday, August 1, at 10 AM and goes through Sunday, August 2 at 5 PM. We look forward to seeing you there!

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.

July 10: Photomicrography Techniques at Geological Society of Oregon Country Meeting

A sunrise sparkles in deep black with this p

Julian Gray will be presenting “Digital Specimen Photography for Geologists,” a presentation on macrophotography and photomicrography, the photographing of things at the microscope level. The event will be at the Portland State University as part of the Geological Society of Oregon Country events.

Vesunvianite 1 Ed Scale - crystal under microscope.Geologists constantly need to depict rocks, minerals, and fossils for presentations and publications. Digital photography has extended the range of possibilities in illustrating samples. One common problem, reduced depth of field at high magnifications, is easily overcome using stacking techniques. This technique uses sharply focused portions of sequential photographs focused on different slices or stacks to produce a synthesized images in which the subject is crisply focused.

Julian Gray, executive director of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, is a geologist and semi-professional photographer specializing in photomicrography. He has experimented extensively with photographing through microscopes and using stacking techniques and others to produce stunning images with extensive depth of field, bringing sand, crystals, minerals, and even salt to life and shine like diamonds. Julian’s images have been published in mineral magazines and books. He is also the co-author and contributing photographer of the upcoming book, Minerals of Georgia.

For more information and directions, see their site for details.

July 15: Central Oregon Rock Collector’s 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 Collector’s 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. 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.