New Museum Exhibit: “What’s inside a rock?”

Have you ever picked up a rock and wondered about what might be inside? This new exhibit puts everyday rocks under the microscope to show the beautiful secrets inside ordinary stones.

What's inside a rock?

This exhibit sheds light on some of the science behind the gorgeous minerals displayed at the museum. It’s great for families and people of all ages!

Come visit to discover the humble ingredient in over half the rocks on Earth’s surface and find out what, exactly, makes something a crystal. You can even check it out during the museum’s upcoming Summer Fest, taking place this year on August 6 & 7 from 10 AM through 5 PM.

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

Mystery Mineral Day, Saturday February 28, 2015

If you have any rock, mineral, fossil, gem, or meteorite that you have wanted identified, then you are in luck.  A panel of experts will be on hand on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM to not only identify your stone, but tell you its history and other important facts about it. This event is free with regular admission.

Mystery Mineral Day 2015 Flier

Mystery Mineral Day at the Rice NW Museum, February 28, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM

Antique Trader’s Guide to Fine Mineral Collection Recommends Rice Museum

Print version of Antique Trader Magazine Article on Fine Mineral Collection featuring the Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum.The Antique Trader magazine recently featured the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals as one of their favorite resources in their article, “Digging for Information: 10 Things to Consider Before Collecting Fine Minerals.”

The article is a step-by-step guide for those considering if fine mineral collecting is right for you, offering helpful information and resources, like our museum, to learn more about the art of collecting.

Fine Mineral Collecting is the collecting of one-of-a-kind natural minerals such as the red rhodochrosite that represents the Rice NW Museum on display in the museum’s Main Gallery downstairs, alongside many other rare and unusual minerals including tourmaline, benitoite, paravauxite, legrandite, and papagoite.

Fine mineral collectors collect as much for the beauty, shape and form, as well as their rarity, quality, and value. For many, finding and displaying a piece of natural history, a precious mineral formed over millions of years in a “combination of fluid, heat, and pressure,” is reward enough.

As mentioned in the article, by becoming a fine mineral collector, you would be in good company.

Who knows, your piece may have been owned by Andrew Carnegie, Washington Roebling (builder of the Brooklyn Bridge) or even famous pianist Roger Williams or [Oscar-winning composer of “Titanic”] James Horner, all of whom were avid Fine Mineral collectors.

Other famous fine mineral collectors include Colonel Washington A. Roebling, the inventor of wire cable and builder of the famous Brooklyn Bridge, Pauline Armstrong of the Schlitz-Anheuser-Bush family, famous Spanish photographers José Manuel Sanchez and Francisco Piña, Sir Arthur Russell, 6th Baronet of England, Gene Meieren of Intel, Frau Dr. Erika Pohl of Wella Balsam Cosmetics, Michael Scott of Apple Computers, and Dr. Edward David Jr., former Nixon era science adviser.

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals offers workshops, lectures, and help to get you started on your own fine mineral collecting hobby. Come by for a visit and learn more about how you, too, can start exploring the exciting and beautiful world of minerals.

Rice NW Museum honored for educational exhibits at the 2014 Denver Gem & Mineral Show

Julian Gray and Leslie Moclock with the Rice NW Museum case of agates at the 2014 Denver Gem & Mineral Show. This case won the Donna Chirnside Memorial Award for best educational case by a museum.

Thousands of people attended the Denver Gem & Mineral Show held the second weekend in September each year in Denver, Colorado. The theme of this year’s show was near and dear to the heart of the Rice NW Museum and Oregonians rockhounds: Agate. Agates are found in many places in Oregon and are well represented in the Rice NW Museum’s permanent exhibits. Curator Leslie Moclock selected about two dozen of the best agates and thundereggs from the museum’s collection for two temporary educational exhibits at the show September 12-14, 2014. Taking the museum to mineral collectors in attendance at shows is part of the museum’s outreach program.

Both exhibit cases were recognized for their excellence in educational content and quality of exhibition. The Denver Gem & Mineral Show Committee selected the Rice NW Museum’s case on the origin of agates for the Donna Chirnside Memorial Award honoring the best display by an institution at the show.  The Friends of Mineralogy, a group that promotes mineral education, awarded the Best Educational Case by an Institution Award to the Rice NW Museum case featuring thundereggs, Oregon’s State Rock.

Fluorescent Mineral Society Annual Meeting

Fluorescent Mineral Display at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals.

The Rice Museum would like to welcome the Northwest chapter of the Fluorescent Mineral Society to our facility for their annual meeting. In honor of their meeting, we have improved our own fluorescent display in the Rainbow Gallery by replacing lights and filters to make our fluorescents truly shine. Come by to see the improvement.

Rhodochrosite – The Inca Rose Stone

Among our many Exhibits in the Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum is our popular Rhodochrosite specimens. Rhodochrosite is also known as Inca Rose Stone, Raspberry Spar, and Manganese Spar.

Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate (MnCO3). The carbonates are a group of minerals that contain the anion group CO32-, and are subdivided into the calcite, aragonite, dolomite or hydrated carbonate subgroups. Rhodochrosite belongs to the calcite subgroup. These carbonates are known for having rhombohedral symmetry, which results in the formation of rare rhombohedron shaped crystals.

The name rhodochrosite is derived from the Greek for rose-colored. Rhodochrosite is most commonly pink or red, but may sometimes occur as yellow, grey or brown crystals. Pink and red colors occur when the rhodochrosite has a high manganese content, but some substitution of iron in place of manganese causes other colors. Its density also depends on the amount of manganese present, with a lower density associated with low iron content. Continue reading

Rare John Veevaert Collection of Benitoite at Rice Northwest Museum

Benitoite Cyclosilicate - Veevaert Collecton at Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum2The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals is proud to announce the John Veevaert Collection of Benitoite will be on exhibit June 27th, 2012 until March 18, 2013. This is the first time a portion of the Veevaert collection has been on public exhibition.

Benitoite is a cyclosilicate. Cyclosilicates are also known as ring silicates because the silicate components in their structure are linked together in rings. Benitoite has hexagonal symmetry, so it can form perfect dipyramidal (double pyramids) crystals.

The name benitoite comes from San Benito County in California, where the first specimen was discovered in 1907. Benitoite is most commonly sapphire blue with hints of violet, but may sometimes occur as colorless, white, pink, reddish-brown or greenish-gray crystals. Benitoite is white when powdered (white streak), and has a vitreous luster. Its hardness ranges from 6 to 6.5 on Moh’s scale. It sometimes occurs as twinned specimens. It fluoresces bright blue in short-wave ultra-violet light. This has proved to be a particularly useful property for identifying benitoite when mining. Benitoite is commonly found with neptunite and natrolite. A relatively rare mineral, benitoite has been found in California, Arkansas, Montana, Czech Republic and Japan. Gem quality benitoite is only found in California. Benioite was declared California’s State Gem in 1985.

Benitoite cyclosilicate 1 - Veevaert Collecton at Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral MuseumThere are 55 specimens in the exhibit, representing only 20 percent of Veevaert’s entire collection, assembled during the past thirty-two years via field collecting and purchases.

There will be a variety of themes in the exhibition including the twinning of benitoite and neptunite, localities in addition to the Benitoite Gem mine (found in Japan, Arkansas, and California), four specimens showing the range of “straight from the mine” look to a finished specimen with stages in between, odd habits and rare crystal faces for benitoite, faceted benitoite and uncut gem rough, exceptional specimens, and an idealized wooden crystal model made in Germany.

Specimens in Veevaert’s collection range from micro-sized to some in excess of 30 cm, but those in the museum display average about 8 cm.

The museum is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 1-5PM. Members admission is free. Adults are $8, Seniors $7, Students under 17 are $6, and children 4 and under are free.

Special Malachite Lapidary Exhibit from Congo on Display

malachite carved face of woman - special exhibit at Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral MuseumWe are excited to feature some malachite lapidary work from the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in our Lapidary Arts Room for only the month of March 2012. Make time to visit this rare and special collection at the Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum.

malachite carved face - special exhibit at Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral MuseumOn loan from the Ziemer Family, the collection was built between 1975 and 1976 after Mr. Raymond Ziemer was given some pieces as a gift from a local tribe.

Carbonates are a group of minerals that contain the anion group CO32. They can be subdivided into the calcite, aragonite, dolomite or hydrated carbonate groups. The mineral malachite belongs in the hydrated (OH-bearing) carbonate group. It is a copper (Cu) bearing mineral and has the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. Continue reading