Presenting: The Rice Museum Benefit Dinner & Silent Auction!

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals is hosting our first ever benefit dinner! Please join us 6 May 2017 at 5:00 PM to honor Sharleen and William Harvey, Sr. for their years of devotion to the museum.

Dr. Jeffrey Post, Curator of Gems & Minerals for the Smithsonian Institution, will deliver a presentation on the Mineral Treasures of the Smithsonian, including the renowned Hope Diamond. He will also present our official certificate of affiliation from the Smithsonian.

National Museum of Natural History

The Hope Diamond, photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Other evening highlights will include a silent auction and dinner from The Hive Catering Co. Tickets are $100 per seat. The event will take place at the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro.

Tables are going fast, so don’t wait! Get your tickets today!

We wouldn’t be able to hold events without amazing sponsors. We are extremely grateful to:

mwm-logo_vertical-no-web

Margaret & Bob McMillan

Sharleen Harvey

 Bill & Diana Dameron

 The Hive Catering Co.

Bruce Carter

 Paula Stewart

-Sponsor the event at any level to add your business name here!-

Purchase Tickets

Mystery Mineral Day- February 25!

Mystery Mineral Day is happening Saturday, February 25, 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 included with general admission.

ALMA ROSE ON EXHIBIT IN TUCSON-See this iconic specimen and many more!

A photo of the Alma Rose rhodochrosite specimen, it is a black rock with gray and yellow crystal formations and 6 large rhodochrosite cubes. Featured on a black background.

The Alma Rose, Photo by Jeff Scovil

We’re headed to Tucson, Arizona for the biggest mineral event of the year! We’re proud to be the featured collector at the Westward Look Fine Mineral Show and and will also be exhibiting at the 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®.

 

The Alma Rose rhodochrosite specimen made the trip! See it and more of our amazing collection on Saturday, February 4, from 10AM-4PM, and meet & greet with Executive Director Julian C. Gray and Curator Leslie Moclock at:

The Westward Look Resort
245 East Ina Road
Tucson, Arizona 85704

Learn more about the Fine Mineral Show here.

The Alma Rose will also be exhibited at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® from February 9-12. Learn more here!

Tucson Convention Center
260 S Church Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701

If you can’t make it to Tucson and are headed to the museum, the Alma Rose will be back on exhibit in Hillsboro on 2/16/17. Even though we miss the Alma Rose, the Rice Museum is open our regular hours of 1PM-5PM Wednesday-Friday and 10AM-5PM Saturday-Sunday.

Conflict Minerals and your Smartphone

If you’re a Leonardo DiCaprio fan, you’ve probably heard the term blood diamond. It’s the title of his 2006 film set in Sierra Leone against the backdrop of armed conflict funded by diamond sales. The film helped raise awareness about this terrible connection and the steps being taken to break it.

Minerals associated with violence go beyond diamonds. Other lesser-known but vitally important materials play similar roles in conflicts elsewhere. And these materials end up inside your mobile phone.

Our museum’s display at this year’s Denver Gem & Mineral Show (Sept. 16-18, 2016), addresses the issue of conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These minerals include gold, tantalum, tungsten, and tin ores.

What is a conflict mineral?

A conflict mineral is a resource that directly or indirectly supports paramilitary violence and warfare. Mining in the DRC is carried out by small, local operators using hand tools and manual labor. It is a critical source of income for poor families who would otherwise rely only on subsistence farming to survive. Because these operations are so small and decentralized, however, the ore they produce must go through a long series of traders and middlemen before it can reach the market.

Paramilitary groups exploit this part of the supply chain because the material and money are so difficult to trace. Using violence, murder, rape, and extortion, they force taxes on the movement of ore minerals and use the profits to buy weapons.

How do these minerals affect me?

Materials derived from conflict minerals are critical to products you use every day. Just look at that ubiquitous symbol of high-tech gadgetry: your mobile phone.

Inside every smartphone, you’ll find:

  • Gold, which makes fast electrical conductors that won’t corrode over time
  • Tungsten, used in the vibrating motor that makes your phone buzz
  • Tantalum, needed to help tiny capacitors hold an electric charge
  • Tin, the soldering material connecting components together

These four materials are known collectively as the “3TG.” They have a wide variety of other uses, from hardening drill bits (tungsten) to forming surgical implants and rocket nozzles (tantalum) to shaping window glass (tin).

Circuit Board of a computer.

Image source: Morgan A. Vigil, University of California-Santa Barbara

 

How are corporations responding?

With such widespread uses of 3TG materials, it can seem impossible for the average person to have an impact on this issue. Fortunately, international governments, corporations, and non-governmental organizations are taking steps to cut off suppliers linked with conflict.

Annually, reports from electronics corporations and other organizations show positive trends: they are making headway in creating transparent supply chains and identifying conflict-free source materials. However, more must still be done, especially to combat smugglers who mix uncertified ore materials with ores certified to be conflict-free.

What can I do to help?

You can help work towards a conflict-free future by being an informed consumer. If you’re shopping for a new phone, look up the manufacturer’s Conflict Minerals Report as well as its device’s processing speed. If you are dedicated to a particular smartphone brand, contact the manufacturer in writing or through social media to express your support for conflict-free sourcing.

And when you’re done with your old device, always remember to recycle. Electronics recycling not only reuses 3TG materials, but also benefits public health and the environment.

2016 Northwest Fossil Fest at the Rice Northwest Museum

2016 NW FOssil Fest PosterThe 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 13, 2016, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

The Theme for the 11th Annual Northwest Fossil Fest Fossil Teeth!

The event is free for families to learn about fossils, fossil collecting, preparation, identification, hands on demonstrations, and educational displays. There will also be two great talks.  The first will be Dr. John Bershaw of the Geology Department at Portland State University. He will be talking about how he uses fossil teeth to measure changes in chemistry that tell us something about how the past environment changed.  Victor Perez of the University of Florida will present a talk entitled “The Giant Megalodon and what we know about it from Teeth.”

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.

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!

2016_summerfest

Zircons are Forever at OMSI SciPub

zircon-x

Zoned zircon at 200x magnification. Image courtesy Union College.

Curator Leslie Moclock will be giving this month’s OMSI Science Pub lecture at the Venetian Theatre & Bistro in Hillsboro, OR.

Everyone knows that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. But have you ever wondered how we figured out that number? Come discover the secrets of geochronology and learn how scientists determine the age of rocks and fossils. From maps and sledgehammers to radioactive crystals and cutting-edge electronics, this talk illuminates the tools and techniques used to investigate the history of our Earth.

Date: Monday, June 27

Time: 7-9 PM

$5 suggested cover charge

Venetian Theatre  & Bistro
253 E. Main St., Hillsboro, Oregon

35th Annual Portland Regional Gem and Mineral Show in Hillsboro

The 2015 Portland Regional Gem Mineral Show Association is the 35th Annual event hosted by the Portland Regional Gem and Mineral Association October 9-11, 2015.

This is one of the largest rock, gem, and mineral shows in the Pacific Northwest, bringing together over 40 dealers and hundreds of exhibits. There will be demonstrations, lectures, workshops, educational programs, specimens, and more through out the entire weekend.

Admission is $5 per day for adults. Children 12 and under are free accompanied by an adult.

The event will be at the Washington County Fair Complex across from the Hillsboro Airport in Hillsboro, Oregon.

For more information, see the 2015 Portland Regional Gem Mineral Show Association announcements and news.

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

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