MMGM announces the establishment of two student scholarships for the Maine Pegmatite Workshop.

Frank Perham Memorial Scholarship

Funds have been committed to create the Frank Perham Memorial Scholarship that will fully support a student attending the 2023 Maine Pegmatite Workshop. Our goal is to establish a $25,000.00 endowment in honor of Frank that will permanently fund a yearly scholarship.

Frank C. Perham passed away on January 31, 2023, at the age of 88. Frank was born and raised in Trap Corner, West Paris, Maine, in the house attached to the family’s “mineral store” –originally known as Perham’s Maine Mineral Store and after 1957 as Perham’s of West Paris. Frank wore many hats in his lifetime. When asked to describe himself by Karen Webber for the book Frank C. Perham, Adventures in Maine Pegmatite Mining, he said “I’m an undergraduate geologist by training, a miner by avocation, and a garage owner by necessity, right in that order.”

Pegmatite minerals and mining were always a part of Frank’s life. What made his heart go “pitter-patter” were the lithium-rich pegmatites that had the potential to produce gem tourmaline. Frank said, with respect to mining, he was very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time with the right equipment for some of Maine’s most important pegmatite pocket discoveries as either a miner or observer.

When the Maine Pegmatite Workshop was held in Poland, Maine, for the first time in 2002, Frank was a treasured and permanent member of the organizing group. He particularly enjoyed working with students or folks new to pegmatites or collecting and would spend time at the pegmatites visited, describing the history, previous discoveries, or current work. One of the annual events held at the Workshop was the Ugly Shirt Contest. Participants had to put together crazy costumes with great prizes as a reward. Frank always had a creative costume, acted as MC, and brought trash bags full of costumes and accessories “gifted” to him from previous participants for others to borrow.

Frank was a gifted storyteller. He would say “sit back and I’m going to take you on a little journey with me” as he recounted mining adventures and discoveries. He had a photographic memory when it came to pockets and what was in them. One of his annual talks at the Maine Pegmatite Workshop was about the 1972 Newry discovery of gem tourmaline crystals, and he had all of the participants right with him in the Big Pocket as he unearthed the “Jolly Green Giant” for the first time from its bed of cleavelandite fragments.

When asked why he loved mining so much, particularly in a summer when little was found, he would say he mined for the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of reading the rocks to determine the best place to drill and blast, and the knowledge that when he opened a pocket for the first time, he was the first person on Earth to look inside and pull out its minerals.


Alessandro Guastoni Memorial Scholarship

Funds have been committed to create the Alessandro Guastoni Memorial Scholarship that will fully support a foreign student attending the 2023 Maine Pegmatite Workshop. Our goal is to establish a $25,000.00 endowment in honor of Alessandro that will permanently fund a yearly scholarship.

Alessandro Guastoni was born in Milan on January 17, 1966. From an early age, he was interested in scientific subjects, particularly mineralogy. In 1977 he began to attend the Gruppo Mineralogico Lombardo participating in conferences and social field trips for mineral hunting. In 1985 he began his university studies at the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Milan. Alessandro graduated in 1989 with a master’s thesis on the petrography of Val del Cervo Pluton. Shortly afterward, he worked as a technician for the oil company Geoservices International in Malaysia, Angola, Benin, Congo, and Yemen until 1995. In 1998 he began collaborating with the Civic Museum of Natural History in Milan as an assistant curator which continued until 2006, when he became curator of the Mineralogical Museum of the University of Padua. In 2009 he began Ph.D. studies at the University of Padua on Oligocene age pegmatites of the central-western Alps. In 2016 he became the Chief Editor of “Rivista Mineralogica Italiana”. Tragically Alleandro died on December 7, 2022, hunting minerals at the phosphate-rich Malpensata pegmatite dike on the Piona peninsula in Lake Como, Italy.

The Maine Mineral & Gem Museum is proud to host and sponsor the 21st Annual Pegmatite Workshop

September 6 – 10, 2023, Bethel, Maine

Granite pegmatites are intriguing rock bodies to study. Found worldwide, they have been examined and mined for commercial, hobbyist and academic reasons for centuries. Even with this history, pegmatites are still considered difficult to comprehend. They are individually diverse in their structure, mineralogy, and paragenesis, but simultaneously there are enough similarities between all pegmatites to be worthy of comparison and study by the miner, mineral collector and academic alike. Whether your interest in pegmatites is purely academic or simply to learn where to look for mineral specimens in these deposits, an understanding of pegmatites is crucial and can require years of questioning others, reading the literature, independent study and field work. To speed this process along, studying with experienced instructors can be very, quickly adding to your knowledge base and comprehension. But finding a teacher to work with is difficult, and finding an expert pegmatologist almost impossible.  More information about the workshop can be found HERE

To make a donation in support of the scholarships:

Please mail a check to:

Maine Mineral & Gem Museum
PO Box 500
Bethel, ME 04217


Intern at the Museum!

Bring your knowledge, interest, and enthusiasm to the museum. Gain new skills and expertise.

MMGM collects, preserves, interprets and displays material and information; it engages in research and meets the needs of researchers. It celebrates the mineralogy of Maine through dynamic exhibits, educational programming, and scientific research. It elucidates the economic and mining history of Maine’s minerals, and the way these may become gems. It includes an important collection of “space rocks” (meteorites), illuminatingly displayed.

The laboratory, equipped with high-end analytical instruments, conducts chemical analyses, optical determinations, Xray diffraction interpretation, and other analytical and research work, assisted by a lapidary studio.

MMGM supports diversity. It serves the public and recruits personnel regardless of race, creed, color, gender, etc. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply for internships.

MMGM offers, competitively, a limited number of paid internships to persons interested in/knowledgeable about geology, earth science, astronomy, museum studies, graphic design, relevant Maine history. Undergraduates will have completed at least two years of study; graduate students and otherwise knowledgeable/qualified persons are encouraged to apply.

Interns will engage in a variety of activities related to principal functions of the museum and its lab, collections, and public interaction, in conjunction with museum staff. Interns may fulfil requirements of an institution’s educational programs. They will develop detailed activity plans in consultation with MMGM staff. They will increase their grasp of their field, while acquiring experience of the operation of a museum.

The internship program is generously supported by the
Richard L. Bedell Geological Internship Endowment

Richard L. Bedell’s “endowment supports this incredible museum as a thanks for my receiving a grant at the American Museum of Natural History… that experience was transformative”. Bedell went on to further study in Toronto and London, to conduct research in Canada and Tanzania, and to establish a publicly traded exploration company. He is presently a technical advisor to exploration companies, chairman of TerraCore, and an advisor to the Jet Propulsion Lab for the next generation of Earth Observing satellites. His gift is intended to make similar study opportunities available through our internship program.

Internship period: normally, 6 – 12 weeks, time of year to be arranged.

For more information and an application, please email


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