Reminder: Late Open Oct.12th

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals will be opening late at 12:00pm tomorrow, October 12th, for Celebrando Arte y Cultura (Celebrate Arts and Culture) event set up.

Come celebrate Art and Culture with us in Hillsboro, Or. The event is free and includes admission into the museum. We will be joined by Bach to Rock for a musical performance and local vendors selling handmade goods. Bring family and friends, there will be arts and crafts for everyone to create.

The museum will be open from 12:00 PM- 5:00 PM on October 12th.

Noted gemcutter Scott Sucher to speak on the history of the Hope Diamond

Join us on October 3, 2019 as we present famed gemcutter Scott Sucher, a gemcutter with a unique passion for creating replicas of famous diamonds. He has been given special access to diamonds from the vaults of major museums around the world, most notably the Smithsonian Institution to study the Hope Diamond. Access to these stones allowed Scott to painstakingly study them and take measurements that allow him to create high-fidelity replicas of them in his New Mexico studio.

Scott Sucher faceting gems
Scott Sucher at his faceting machine cutting a replica of the Cullinan I, a 530.2 carat diamond from the British Crown Jewels.

The lecture October 3, 2019 begins at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:00 PM for a reception with light refreshments. This event is free to members and only $10 to non-members. Space is limited and reservations are required, even for members.


Time is running out to see the Spann Exhibit

Don’t miss out – our exhibit of the worldwide collection of fine minerals owned by Gail and Jim Spann will be leaving in a few short months.

Thousands of people have already been wowed by this exhibit, but if you haven’t seen the it yet you should make plans soon. This spectacular display of world-class specimens will only be at the museum until January 20, 2020. That means in five short months they’ll be headed home to Texas.

Until then, you still have time to check them out. Here’s a few favorites

Photo of some of the Gail and Jim Spann collection

Blue Cap Tourmaline

One of only abut 35 museum-grade specimens in the world from the famous “Blue-Cap Pocket”, this giant is one of the best representatives you’ll ever see of pink elbaite tourmaline with a blue cap top. Hailing from the famed Pala-area mines of San Diego, it has splendid color zoning.

The Blue Cap Pocket was unearthed in late December, 1972 and is the most famous tourmaline pocket in U.S. history. Collectors consider the pocket with an almost reverent respect. Only under 100 pieces were found, of any quality. This is one of the top specimens, and stands front and center in the display.

Blue cap tourmaline from the Gail and Jim Spann Collection

Rose Quartz crystal ring

Rose quartz is uncommon in a crystal habit, and it’s even more rare to find it circling a pristine quartz crystal like this. The girdle of crystalline rose quartz is striking, and gives the specimen a striking look. Some call this a “Friar Tuck” display. This specimen is from Lavra da Ilha, a granite pegmatite on a small island north of Taquaral in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The bright luster and rich pink color are rare, and provide a striking contrast to the crystalline quartz it adorns.

Rose quartz ring around a quartz crystal

Malachite “Sorcerer’s Hat” Stalagmite

This striking ‘finger’ of malachite sits atop a plate of similar malachite, giving it the appearance of a tall witch hat, according to the many Harry Potter fans who have seen it here. Found at the L’Etolle du Congo (the “Star of Congo”) mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it has a slightly drusy, or sparkly exterior. The whimsical nature of the piece draws remarks from crowds, as the taper at the top is unique from most malachite specimens that formed as stalactites and stalagmites. It shows no surface bruising that is common to similar specimens, and is dramatic even in an unpolished state.

Malachite stalagmite

Hematite, Horse Tooth Habit

This specimen was the elegant star of our promotional poster back in March. The dramatic edges, striated surfaces, and shiny luster are typical of this form of hematite, which is usually found in rounded, botryoidal masses or red, rusty chunks. Typical of a Morocco hematite, it is lustrous and almost appears sculpted, but it is completely natural.

Horsetooth hematite

These are a few of the nearly eighty amazing specimens from the collection of Gail and Jim Spann. The exhibit can be viewed during normal hours of operation and there is no additional charge for this rare opportunity.

September is Reciprocal Membership Month!

Members of our partner organizations can visit the Rice Museum with their membership cards during the month of September. All levels of membership from the following organizations admit up to 4 people per membership.

Reciprocal Membership Partner Organizations: Oregon ZooOregon Historical Society, Evergreen Aviation and Space MuseumWashington County Museum, Architectural Heritage CenterColumbia River Maritime Museum, Deepwood Museum and Gardens, Clark County Historical MuseumWorld Forestry Center, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Lan Su Chinese Garden

The benefit is valid for the whole month. You may use it as many times as you like for general admission. Visitors must show their proof of membership along with photo ID to our admissions staff to receive 4 admissions per membership.

Rice Museum Hours (September 1, 2019-June 2020):
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Thursday: 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Friday: 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM

Rice NW Museum members receive reciprocal admission to our partner organizations! Plan ahead to visit the World Forestry Center in October 2019. Visit our reciprocal membership page for the full 2019 annual schedule. The 2020 schedule will be available in December 2019.

Summer hours end Sunday, 9/1/2019

Thank you all for an amazing summer! It was wonderful for all of our staff to meet so many visitors. Now it’s time to get back to school and for our staff to prepare to greet thousands of students on field trips!

Rice NW Museum resumes it’s standard operating schedule beginning on Sunday, 9/1/2019. We are closed on Monday, 9/2/2019, in observance of Labor Day.

Hours: (September 1, 2019- June 2020)
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: Open 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Thursday: Open 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Friday: Open 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Saturday: Open 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Sunday: Open 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM

Thanks again for a wonderful summer, and we wish everyone a happy start to their school year! Registration for field trips is open now, reserve your dates today!

Rice NW Museum Presents: An Evening with Astronaut Story Musgrave


The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals is pleased to announce famed astronaut Story Musgrave will be speaking on October 26, 2019 regarding the importance of STEM education. The event will be held in the OMSI Planetarium. Musgrave will relate his own inspirational story, from a challenging upbringing to becoming the only person to personally fly on all of NASA’s five shuttle craft. He is best-known as the lead spacewalker to repair the Hubble Telescope.

Tickets are on sale now! Visit our event page for more information and to purchase tickets!

Astronaut F. Story Musgrave, anchored on the end of the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm, prepares to be elevated to the top of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to install protective covers on the magnetometers. Astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman inside payload bay, assisted Musgrave with final servicing tasks on the telescope, wrapping up five days of space walks. Image Credit: NASA
Astronaut F. Story Musgrave, anchored on the end of the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm, prepares to be elevated to the top of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to install protective covers on the magnetometers. Astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman inside payload bay, assisted Musgrave with final servicing tasks on the telescope, wrapping up five days of space walks. Image Credit: NASA

Garage Sale this Friday and Saturday – Bring Your Own Bucket

Be sure to visit us for our upcoming Garage Sale August 30-31, 2019 and scoop up some amazing bargains by the pound. We are overrun with donated material from local rockhounds, and we are running out of storage space. This material is priced to sell! The rough lapidary material and yard rocks are at especially attractive prices.

We’re hoping to declutter the storage area and reduce the inventory we’ve accumulated not just this summer, but over the years. At a similar event for Memorial Day earlier this year, many of you suggested we should do another one – so here it is!

2019 Aug Garage Sale

This time we’ve got some interesting material we picked up from multiple sources. First and foremost, we’ve got excess zeolites from the late Rudy Tschernich, our former curator and author of “Zeolites of the World.” The museum hosts some of the finest zeolite specimens anywhere on display in the Northwest Gallery, but if you knew Rudy, you can imagine we have tons more from some of the best zeolite localities known, including Robertson Pit in Washington, the Goble area in northwest Oregon, countless basalt quarries in western Oregon, and even a few from India and Europe.

Zeolites from Succor Creek and Rickreall, from the collection of Rudy Tschernich.

Rudy’s definitive book is available for free download as a PDF. By the time he retired, Rudy donated over 13,000 zeolites to the museum, and we probably have the finest collection anywhere. There are countless duplicates, however, so we’ve made about 100 available for sale this year.

In addition, super-volunteer Linda Harvey journeyed north to tackle famed mineral collector Bob Jackson’s storage area, where she picked up pounds of Spruce Ridge material. Bob’s claim up near Snoqualmie Pass in Washington has yielded amazing clusters of nicely terminated quartz crystals, with large pyrite crystals interspersed.

Spruce Ridge quartz and pyrite plate from the collection of Bob Jackson.

Some of the clusters offered for sale will need to be cleaned; museum staff manning the garage sale can provide you with tips on the right kitchen chemicals to use.

On top of all that, we have taken in a few hundred pounds of material collected from the Nehalem River. This material includes a fine red jasper and some interesting agate.

Quartz, jasper and agate from the lower Nehalem River.

Some drop by, bring a bucket, and go home with some interesting pieces. You’ll be supporting the museum and snagging some great collectibles.

Mystery Mineral Day II

If you collected some strange rocks over the summer, bring them in Saturday, August 24 from 10:00 to 2:00 to see if you can stump the experts. We’ll have several geologists, mineralogists, and rockhounds available to identify your finds. Or, if you’ve been wondering what the heck that strange rock is that you think might be a meteorite, now’s the time to get it checked.

Remember, all you need is a paid admission to the museum to participate. While you’re here, be sure to check the Spann Exhibit, the Snook Exhibit, and the “Brilliance of Trilliants” exhibit – all three went up since the first Mystery Mineral Day of the year back in February.

2019 MMD August FB Event Banner

Getting Ready for SummerFest!

Vendors are already hard at work preparing for the opening of SummerFest 2019 on Saturday morning, August 3. The event runs both Saturday and Sunday from 10-5, but many of the vendors get their setups going as early as possible, to get their booths and tables squared away.


If you’ve never been to our SummerFest celebration, you owe it to yourself and your family to drop on by. We’ll have more vendors this year, expanded activities for kids, and upgraded food options. And parking is easier, too! Learn to pan for gold, shop for fantastic rocks and minerals, explore the many jewelry options, pick up information from the strong local clubs that specialize in rocks, gems, prospecting, and faceting, and have a great time.