The Rice is home to fascinating and beautiful galleries and displays that showcase the beauty and variety of geologic wonders, such as Northwest thundereggs, agate, jasper, sunstones, and a vast collection of rocks, minerals, and gems from around the world. 


The Big Find: A Legend Continues

50 years ago, 4 miners unearthed over a ton of gem quality tourmaline crystals near the top of Plumbago Mountain, Maine– the most amazing single discovery of tourmaline of this caliber in North America. This was the find that changed everything.
In 2022 the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum sought jewelry designers from across the country. Twelve designers, selected by jury, were each matched with one of the 12 stones from this historic find and asked to work their magic. The results are astounding.
Thank you to the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum for lending us this exhibit. Artists whose work will be on display: Paula Crevoshay, Patty Dunning, Matt Fischer, Gerardo Gonzalez, Derek Katzenbach, Andy Lucas, Steve Manchini, Nick Noyes, Naomi Sama, Eric Stewart, Matt and Lauren Tuggle, and Stephen and Tamberlaine Zeh.
On view through September 4, 2023. 

Silver and Silver Bearing Minerals 

Drawn from the collections of Gene Meieran, Gail and James Spann and the Rice Museum, this special exhibition includes over 50 specimens of native silver and silver-bearing minerals from around the world. Featuring specimens that are renowned and hailed by experts as the best in the world. This temporary display is not to be missed with large curling ropes, delicate wires, stately sculptural masses, and delicate crystallized specimens. 
On view as a companion exhibition is a display of native copper drawn from the Museum’s collection. 

Gene Meieran Topaz

This incredible 400 lb topaz specimen will be on on loan from local collector Gene Meieran for one year.
Discovered in Brazil this specimen rivals similar ones on display at the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Destination Moon

On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 met President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 challenge of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” The poster exhibition, Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, explores what led the United States to accept this challenge and how the resulting 953,054-mile voyage to the Moon and back was accomplished just eight years after the program was authorized. Destination Moon examines the mission and recognizes the sacrifices and devotion of more than 400,000 people employed in NASA programs who worked through the trials, tragedies and triumphs of the 20 missions from 1961 to 1969 before Apollo 11.

Fifty years later, the Apollo program remains the benchmark for great national achievement. When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and humans first set foot on another celestial body, it gave humanity a new perspective from which to view ourselves. 
Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission Poster Exhibition is based on a traveling exhibition of the same name, developed by the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The exhibition is made possible by the support of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, Joe Clark, Bruce R. McCaw Family Foundation, the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, John and Susann Norton, and Gregory D. and Jennifer Walston Johnson.


Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Credit: Photo courtesy of NASA


Main Gallery 

The Museum’s main gallery, located on the lower level, contains one of the world’s finest collections of crystals. Over 4,000 individual specimens are on view from a working collection of over 20,000. See the famous Alma Rose rhodochrosite from Colorado, South American emeralds, colorful copper minerals, crystals of gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, rare and unusual minerals such as benitoite, paravauxite, legrandite, papagoite, and many others.

Dennis & Mary Murphy Gallery

The petrified wood collection on display contains over 460 worldwide specimens collected by Dennis and Mary Murphy over 40 years. The variety of colors, species, and localities make this among the nation’s finest. On view are cross-cut slices, full rounds, and tall tree trunks of petrified wood. 

Northwest Gallery

Visit the Rudy Tschernich Northwest Mineral Gallery, where the Pacific Northwest mineral heritage is preserved. The gallery features the Tschernich zeolite collection, a large section of thundereggs (Oregon’s State Rock), and sunstones (Oregon’s State Gemstone). Enjoy the best from the Northwest, including the largest “opal-filled” thunderegg in the world

Rainbow Gallery

Our Rainbow Gallery is filled with natural minerals that emit brilliant colors when energized with ultraviolet black light. This gallery is always one of the favorite sights to see at the museum. Watch as both shortwave and longwave fluorescent lighting is used to reveal bright, beautiful colors demonstrating that raw minerals can look normal in  daylight and have a magical glow underneath UV light. 
Fluorescent Rocks Exhibit on exhibit at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals.

Fossil Gallery

The Fossil Gallery is full of mysterious things from the distant past. Learn about fossils and trace fossils, dinosaur eggs, and see prehistoric relics of land, air and, sea creatures from the Northwest and around the globe, including Tucker, a three-dimensional baby psittacosaurus.
Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals
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