Bring your mysteries to the museum this Saturday

Mystery Mineral Day is happening this Saturday, February 27, from 10 AM to 2 PM at the museum. A panel of experts will be ready and waiting for you to bring your unknown rocks, minerals, fossils, gems, and potential meteorites for identification!

Have you always wondered what to call that cool crystal you picked up on a hike that one day? Did you inherit a collection, but it’s missing some labels? Do you think you may have found a fossil bone or a rock from outer space? Our experts are volunteering at this event just for you, so don’t be shy. Come on by!

This event is free with general admission (and, of course, free to members).


FREE admission during Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day Live! September 26, 2015

Smithsonian-Magazine-Museum-Day-LiveThe Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals will open its doors free of charge on Saturday, September 26, 2015, as part of the Smithsonian magazine’s eleventh annual Museum Day Live! A nationwide event, Museum Day Live! offers free admission to visitors who present a Museum Day Live! ticket at a participating museum or cultural institution.

Get your Museum Day Live! ticket at Each ticket will allow two guest to be admitted at no charge. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address. The Rice NW Museum is just one of 29 participating Oregon Museums.  For more information about Museum Day Live! 2015 and a list of other participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit: And remember, the Rice Northwest Museum is open Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

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

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

Fred and Wilma Flintstone Ride the Flintmobile to Summer Fest

Yes, Fred and Wilma will be visiting the Rice Northwest Museum’s popular Summer Festival, August 1-2, 2015. The rumor was uncovered by the Oregonian last week, and we caved.

Ha! Yabba dabba do!

Fred and Wilma will be at the Rice Museum all day Saturday and Sunday for photographs, hugs, and “rides” in the Flintmobile. Both Fred and Wilma Flintstone are expert rockhounds – though Fred mostly likes to break them. Bring your rock treasures and questions to them as well as the other exhibitors and rock experts at the museum this weekend.

Here are a few snaps taken with the Flintstone’s state-of-the-rock Polarock Camera from past events.

Northwest Fossil Fest at the Rice Northwest Museum

2015 NW Fossil Fest FlierThe Northwest Fossil Fest sponsored by the North America Research Group (NARG) will take place at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals on Saturday, August 8, 2015, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

The Theme for the 10th Annual Northwest Fossil Fest is The Pleistocene Epoch!

The event is free for families to learn about fossils, fossil collecting, preparation, identification, and display. The event includes lectures and demonstrations, including presentations by Mike Full and Dave Ellingson.  Mike will discuss some of his recent important discoveries from the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project and will have some of his Ice Age mammal bone discoveries on display.  Dave, a science teacher at Woodburn High School, will talk about major fossil discoveries from a bog deposit on grounds of the Woodburn Campus.  The Woodburn discoveries are part of the exciting Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project.  The lecture schedule will be published soon.

Paleontologists will be on hand identify fossils and to show kids of all ages how to clean and prepare fossils.  There will be lots of hands on activities and this is a great event for families and fossil fans.  Attendance for the Fossil Fest includes free admission to the museum.

For more information and up-to-the-minute information see Northwest Fossil Fest.

IMPORTANT ROAD CONSTRUCTION ALERT:  Please note that Helvetia Road will be closed August 8, 2015 because of construction.  Please 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 NW Fossil Fest.

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.