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geonuc
2017-Jun-06, 12:05 PM
I've recently had the pleasure of visiting the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto where I found one of the best gem and mineral exhibits I'd ever seen. In fact, I'd rank it right up there with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's collection in Washington, DC.

Along with having a ton of specimens, ROM does an excellent job of displaying minerals according to various classification schemes, which really adds to the educational value. You'll find mineral cases sorted by crystal class, chemical composition, color, habit and others. They also have several displays that showcase minerals from specific regions of the world, not just Canadian (although Canada of course can claim a lot of good mineral locales). The displays are well lit and easily viewed, even for someone with tired eyes.

There's a separate room for gems, and here, too, ROM shines (as do most of the gems!). They have some really good specimens. Maybe not anything as famous as the Smithsonian's Hope diamond but a lot of high quality gems.

I spent a lot of time in ROM's mineral room.

Other than the Smithsonian, I've seen good mineral exhibits in other places, too. Such as the Weinman Mineral Gallery at the Tellus Museum north of Atlanta. Not nearly as large as the Smithsonian or ROM, the Tellus has a lot of good minerals on display.

What other excellent gem and mineral museums have people visited?

Gillianren
2017-Jun-06, 03:19 PM
The only one I've been to (get me started on why I missed the Smithsonian's) is the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, but I think it's pretty fine. There's an interesting display about gold, including its place in the history of California.

KaiYeves
2017-Jun-06, 03:32 PM
The Smithsonian's geology halls are excellent, the last time I visited, they were displaying the Hope Diamond at the center of a gallery called "Six Treasures of Nature" with other really spectacular specimens-- of course, most other visitors still only looked at the Hope, but they had a piece of sandstone about as big as I was that had been sculpted into this incredible organic-looking form only by wind and a sheet of copper big enough to make two million pennies from.

The Hall of Gems and Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History is a bit old-- you can make a "punch-buggy" style game of pointing out countries that don't exist any more on the specimen labels to your friend, and I don't mean just pre-1990s-ones-- but there are a lot of large crystals you can touch, a super-70s film about gold in human culture to watch, the Star of India to see, and for some reason the entire hall is carpeted in soft beige carpeting, so you can acutally sit or kneel next to the cases for a closer look. The Hall of Meteorites in the next room over is also pretty sweet and has some films narrated by Sally Ride.

Last summer, I visited the Paris Museum de l'Histoire Naturelle at the Jardin des Plantes (if you're a nerd and in Paris, I highly recommend it, it's right in the Latin Quarter and easy to reach by Metro), which is split up into several buildings across the gardens that each require their own tickets. The Geology gallery is small, but worth a visit, and has a cool mural of the arctic in its lobby.

PetersCreek
2017-Jun-06, 05:10 PM
I've visited the Smith a handful of times and always enjoy the MoNH bone and rock exhibits. My interest in gems and minerals is from a lapidary perspective and I've visited a few minor museums but most of them were neither notable nor memorable. An exception would be the Deutsches Edelsteinmuseum (http://www.edelsteinmuseum.de/), Deutsches Mineralmuseum (http://www.deutsches-mineralienmuseum.de/) (German language sites) and the many shops in and around Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Besides having a long history of mining and jewelry making, it's a lovely, picturesque place to visit.

danscope
2017-Jun-06, 05:10 PM
If you find yourself in Boston , go to Harvard Yard and see the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Although dedicated to animals,plants and insects, there is a huge room of minerals and crystals that will knock your socks off. Quite a fine place.
Well worth your day.

Dan

KaiYeves
2017-Jun-06, 07:32 PM
If you find yourself in Boston , go to Harvard Yard and see the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Although dedicated to animals,plants and insects, there is a huge room of minerals and crystals that will knock your socks off. Quite a fine place.
Well worth your day.

Dan
When I went over the past six years, they were just calling it the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Squink
2017-Jun-07, 12:22 AM
Denver museum of nature and science - Coors mineral hall is well worth a look.

geonuc
2017-Jun-07, 12:32 AM
If you find yourself in Boston , go to Harvard Yard and see the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Although dedicated to animals,plants and insects, there is a huge room of minerals and crystals that will knock your socks off. Quite a fine place.
Well worth your day.

Dan

Boston is on my near-term bucket list (mainly to visit the USS Constitution), so I'll bookmark this museum. Thanks!

geonuc
2017-Jun-07, 12:36 AM
The Smithsonian's geology halls are excellent, the last time I visited, they were displaying the Hope Diamond at the center of a gallery called "Six Treasures of Nature" with other really spectacular specimens-- of course, most other visitors still only looked at the Hope, but they had a piece of sandstone about as big as I was that had been sculpted into this incredible organic-looking form only by wind and a sheet of copper big enough to make two million pennies from.

One time I visited the Smithsonian (I've been four of five times), they had an absolutely awesome diamond display. I think it was a temporary exhibit but it showcased some really fabulous gems. My favorite was a large orange diamond.


Last summer, I visited the Paris Museum de l'Histoire Naturelle at the Jardin des Plantes (if you're a nerd and in Paris, I highly recommend it, it's right in the Latin Quarter and easy to reach by Metro), which is split up into several buildings across the gardens that each require their own tickets. The Geology gallery is small, but worth a visit, and has a cool mural of the arctic in its lobby.

I've been to Paris twice but hadn't visited this museum. If there's a third visit, I will.

geonuc
2017-Jun-07, 12:38 AM
Denver museum of nature and science - Coors mineral hall is well worth a look.

Thanks. I'll bookmark that one, too.

KaiYeves
2017-Jun-07, 02:07 AM
One time I visited the Smithsonian (I've been four of five times), they had an absolutely awesome diamond display. I think it was a temporary exhibit but it showcased some really fabulous gems. My favorite was a large orange diamond.



I've been to Paris twice but hadn't visited this museum. If there's a third visit, I will.

Absolutely! And you should definitely visit the Grande Galerie de l'Évolution: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/83427/Grande-Galerie-de-l-Evolution-Museum-national-d-Histoire-naturelle

Swift
2017-Jun-07, 12:56 PM
One pet peeve of mine, as a solid-state chemist, is when mineral collections in museums describe the name of the mineral, but nothing about the chemical formulation. I'm sorry to say that the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) is guilty of this.

As to the focus of the thread, CMNH has a gneiss gem and mineral collection (pun intended), but not amazing. Worth a look, but probably not worth a visit to Cleveland just for that.

Strange
2017-Jun-07, 01:04 PM
Not such a serious one, but Japan has a museum of rocks that look like faces: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/11/the-japanese-museum-of-rocks-that-look-like-faces/

(I haven't been, because I never knew about it when I was there. There is also a museum of parasites. Which I didn't visit for different reasons!)

Gillianren
2017-Jun-07, 03:05 PM
One pet peeve of mine, as a solid-state chemist, is when mineral collections in museums describe the name of the mineral, but nothing about the chemical formulation. I'm sorry to say that the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) is guilty of this.

I believe the one in LA is the reason I know that different gems are often the same mineral with different trace elements. Certainly it has a lot of information about how various minerals are formed.