Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Public Exhibit of Maryland Minerals

The likes of this Maryland mineral display at Howard County Community College was a long time coming. To thank for it, we have Ed Goldberg, an avid field collector from Reisterstown, who during the day works as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

For nearly two decades, ever since becoming frustrated over not having a place to show his young daughter the kinds of minerals they could collect in Maryland, Ed has doggedly pursued one avenue after another regarding the need for a display of Maryland minerals. Among entities he has approached have been the Maryland Geological Survey, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, The Maryland Academy of Sciences, the State House, The Tawes Building, and the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. For various reasons, ranging from budgetary concerns to indifference, they all turned him down.

Here's Goldberg's contention: "For a state that prides itself on its geographical and geological diversity, to not display what it's made of is a travesty." He also feels strongly about the need for more young people to be aware of the subject. "What we have here in Maryland are legislators and policy makers who say we've lagged in the sciences and that to get more people---kids in particular---involved is critical. Well here you go. Just about all kids like rocks."

Turning him on to the possibilities at Howard County Community College was an old college buddy, its Board of Trustees' Past President Roger Caplan. Mr. Caplan suggested that Ed contact an administrator at HCCC, who suggested he speak with two physical sciences instructors, Jennifer Stott and Sharon Lyon. Both instructors proved to be extremely enthusiastic, and it just so happened that there was a display case at the Science and Technology Building that was built into the wall and empty.

Now filled with minerals that Ed donated from his personal collection, it's the first thing to meet one's eye upon entering the Science and Technology Building on Howard County Community College's main Little Patuxent Parkway Campus. The minerals therein, all collected by Ed himself, are a diverse sampling of Maryland's mineral wealth. Among the highlights are a killer actinolite specimen from Soldiers Delight; barite and siderite from Frostburg; chalcopyrite and bornite from Mineral Hill; galena from the Mountain View Lead Mine; Goethite from Oregon Ridge, Vesuvianite from the Fannie Frost Quarry; and calcite (including a purple niobium stained rhomb) from the Medford Redland Genstar Quarry.

In association with the Baltimore Mineral Society (for which he is director of field trips), Ed donated the display to posthumously honor two close mineral friends: Herb Corbett and Jack Nelson. Both made significant contributions toward raising the awareness among young people regarding the earth sciences and mineralogy in particular. Herb , a past president of the Baltimore Mineral Society was a friend and mentor to Ed as a child. Jack Nelson was a close friend from the Gem, Lapidary, and Mineral Society of Montgomery County with whom Ed frequently collected.

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