Saturday, June 6, 2009
Delaware Mineralogical Museum Reopens
Thanks to the Gem, Lapidary, and Mineral Society of Montgomery County, Maryland for having their great monthly newsletter, The Rockhounder on the Internet for all to see. It was the recent May edition from which I learned that the Delaware Mineralogical Museum had reopened. Pictured above are two examples of specimens with aesthetics that blew me away.
Even now, a month after the re-opening, when searching the web with Google, my top two results after typing in "Delaware Mineralogical Museum" and "University of Delaware Mineralogical Museum" indicated that this reopening had yet to occur. A bit of persistence, however, directed me to a site that not only announced the reopening, but offered pertinent information.
There's much to like. First is the way the minerals assert their presence in the front room to all who enter Penny Hall. The fiber optic lighting is effective enough that every specimen can be fully appreciated. As museums go, the room itself is small, its walls surrounded by fewer than a dozen cases that are separated and uncluttered. This allows the visitor to take everything in, while larger museums can sometimes overwhelm with overload.
It was a true pleasure for me to unhurriedly zero in on the the likes of native lead from Sweden and what I suspect could be the largest Namibian descloizite crystals ever uncovered. Other highlights were a couple of aethetically amazing Tsumeb azurite crystals in matrix and a cabinet bearing an assortment of California spodumene (kunzite) that all but defied belief. I was also impressed to see an entire cabinet that used both drawings and minerals as props to explain the six crystal systems.
Blame it if you will on Delaware’s geology, but nothing collected in Delaware was present. A logical enough alternative proved to be a greater number of minerals from neighboring Pennsylvania than from any other state or foreign country. Among them were killer specimens of chalcopyrite from French Creek, pyromorphite from the Wheatley Mine, brucite from the Woods Chrome Mine, diaspore from Corundum Hill near Unionville, PA, andradite garnet from Cornwall, and a stunning malachite spray from Uniontown.
Just a few minutes from I-95, near the Maryland State Line, the Delaware Mineralogical Museum is a must see for rockhounds within a reasonable driving distance, or for that matter, just passing through.