News December 2015

Published on Dec 15, 2015


At the Museum and More…

MMGM Tours & Talks
December 17, 2015
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Talk: Crystals & Crystallography with Al Falster

Rocks & Minerals,
Jan/Feb 2016 Issue

Aquamarine from Stoneham and Vicinity, Oxford County, Maine by Carl A. Francis, Myles Felch, Alexander U. Falster and Douglas Bailey

2016 AGTA GemFairTM
February 2-7, 2016
Tucson Convention Center
Tucson, Arizona

2016 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show
February 11-14, 2016
Tucson Convention Center
Tucson, Arizona


Director | Curator | Store
Events | Science | Support

Directives-A Bustling Year at MMGM-Thank you!

By Barbra Barrett, MMGM Director

Barbra Barrett DIRECTIVESIt seems like we’re all making lists at this time of year. Most are all about gratitude for the people and things we love. At MMGM it’s no different. Ours is an expression of gratitude for interest in what we’re doing here, a review of accomplishments and steps taken to serve as a meaningful resource and a hearty expression of thanks to our amazing community and staff for making this all happen.

2015—A Bustling Year at MMGM

It’s been another incredible year. It’s a wrap. Here’s to 2016!


By Carl Francis, PhD

Carl Francis, MMGM Curator

Almandine boulder at Freshwater Stone, in Orland, being cut into a display specimen by Dana Wilbur (l) and Joe Deweese (r) with an awesome 6’ diameter saw.

Almandine boulder at Freshwater Stone, in Orland, being cut into a display specimen by Dana Wilbur (l) and Joe Deweese (r) with an awesome 6’ diameter saw.

The numerous gifts received in 2015 came in different forms and serve various purposes. In last month’s newsletter Bill Stockwell spoke of why people give to MMGM and reported on the success of the Charter Membership Drive. Barbra spoke of gifts of time when she introduced volunteer Betsey Foster in the September newsletter.

More, we have received some two dozen gifts of specimens and artifacts for the collections. Specimens include rocks, minerals, meteorites and tektites. Artifacts include a diamond cutting machine, gold pans, memorabilia from the Perham’s of West Paris store, Trustee Don Dallaire’s collection of mica artifacts, and mining artifacts from the Trenton Quarry in Topsham.

I’m glad to note gratefully a gift of talent. A large block of pegmatite with an impressive concentration of red almandine garnet crystals from the Fisher quarry in Topsham was given by Levi ‘Sonny’ Chaverie in memory of his wife, Priscilla who was an active member of Maine’s mineral community since the 1930s. We thank Freshwater Stone, Inc. in Orland, Maine for transforming it into a manageable display specimen by cutting away more than half of the matrix. It is now displayed in the Preview Gallery.

All gifts advance MMGM’s programs and operations. They are also critically important in demonstrating – especially to granting agencies – widespread community support. On behalf of the museum I thank everyone who has donated to MMGM this year in whatever form!

Events-Crystals & Crystallography

By Amy Halsted, MMGM Communications

Amy Halsted

Events Crystals imageOn Thursday afternoon, December 17, 2015, MMGM will hold our second Third Thursday Tours & Talks event. With the sense of creating the “fireside” chat for wintertime, each winter month, we bring you talks by our acclaimed staff.

With a wish for snow and knowing that all snowflakes are crystals, we’ve asked Al Falster, MMGM’s Research Technologist and well-known scientific personality, to speak on “Crystals & Crystallography.”

Al’s talk will introduce the basic symmetry concepts and explain what is common property of crystalline materials. From the three basic types of symmetry, and a two-dimensional approach, he will then move on to the three-dimensional realm. Crystal morphology and crystal forms will be introduced and the crystal system will also be covered. Point group symmetry and Miler indices will be the concluding aspects of the talk.

Third Thursdays Tours & Talks—December
Thursday, December 17, 2015, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Crystals & Crystallography with Al Falster

Treasures-MMGM Museum Store Creates “The Kids Quarry”

by Annemarie Saunders

Annemarie Saunders TREASURES

IMG_2535MMGM is delighted to have expanded our Museum Store to include a variety of gifts and an emphasis on children. Our newest child-centric collection is called, “The Kids Quarry.” We have a wonderful selection of educational toys, books, exploration/learning kits and t-shirts.

Our newest product is from Uncle Goose: beautiful, handmade, bass wood blocks from Michigan. We carry the Elemental Set, Odd Galaxy Series and Merry Christmas Blocks for show and play.

IMG_2534For the rockhound we have microscopes, crystal growing kits, mineral identification kits, tumbled stones and mineral books.

Of course with an unparalleled meteorite collection in our Preview Gallery and vaults, we know children are often the most ardent star gazers. For them we offer constellation memory games, planet makers, books on space and astronomy just to name a few enticements to the galaxy and beyond.

MMGM is committed to showcasing gifts and gadgets, educational toys, books and games to inspire the next generation of scientists. Bring in the kids, let them sit on our comfy rug and discover “The Kids Quarry.”


Be sure to visit the MMGM Preview Gallery and Museum Store. Store Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Science-MMGM Intern Shares Thoughts on Her Time with US

By Michelle Devoe, 2015 Bates Geology Graduate

Science 4

Woodman Collection sceptered quartz from the Bennett Mine in Buckfield, Maine

Woodman Collection sceptered quartz from the Bennett Mine in Buckfield, Maine

In an undergraduate mineralogy course, it is impossible to cover everything you need to know. To learn more, you must pursue either an advanced degree in mineralogy, or, like me, an internship at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum.

The sheer amount of exposure I’ve received here has helped me expand upon what I learned in my mineralogy course. From lessons on pegmatites and pocket formation, to casual conversations about crystallography and morphology, and then taking that newfound knowledge along on field trips to mines and pegmatites, this place is an aspiring mineralogist’s dream.

Science 3My interest in mineralogy has always stemmed from a fascination with the geometric perfection of crystal structures. While archiving collections and developing display cases, I’ve come across crystal forms that baffle me: joint crystal forms, like trapezohedron-dodecahedron garnets from Wrangell, Alaska, and crystal habits I didn’t know existed, like sceptered quartz or parallel growth.

Seaman Collection garnet from Wrangell, Alaska

Seaman Collection garnet from Wrangell, Alaska

And the best part—there is a resource here for every question, whether it be one of our experts, Al, Carl, or Myles, or a piece of lab equipment to aid the investigation. The only time I get stuck is when the answer is “we don’t know yet,” though I am thrilled for all we have yet to discover in the field of mineralogy.

But I’m not the only one learning here. There are also opportunities for the public to learn more about mineralogy as well. Our series of “Third Thursday Talks” continues, and this month Al will be giving a presentation on crystallography. You can bet I’ll be there!

Support-Charitable Giving at the Year’s End

By William F. Stockwell, Fundraising Consultant

Bill Stockwell-cropSupportTis the season of giving: of gifts, of parties, and of donations to charities. Some 40 percent of all individual charitable donations are made in December.

Each year as December 31 draws near, Americans are bombarded by requests for donations. Many answer those solicitations, happily giving to their favorite charities. This year-end generosity also might pay off at tax time, as long as you know and follow the IRS’ rules on tax deductions for donations.


  1. Income tax rates are as high as they have been in a long time. Therefore, your charitable gift is worth even more to you.
  2. If you own appreciated stock, it generally makes more sense to make a charitable gift of stock than to write out a check.
  3. Save those gift receipts and acknowledgment letters! For all charitable gifts the IRS requires you to prove that you made a charitable gift. Your cancelled check is no longer sufficient.
  4. Make sure you get the details on possible tax law changes.
  5. Questions about year-end tax planning? See your accountant or other professional tax advisor for additional information.
  6. Considering a year-end charitable gift to MMGM? Please give us a call if we can help answer your questions. 207.824.3036
  7. Timing is everything. Donations must be made by the end of the tax year for which you want to claim the deduction. If you put a check dated December 31 in the mail by that day, you’re OK. So are donations charged by year’s end to your credit card, even if you don’t pay the card’s bill until the next year.

Because of the potential for significant tax law changes at year-end, please check with your accountant or other tax advisor to review the best timing for your charitable contributions. These changes could impact your income tax, estate tax, gift tax, and/or other tax consequences.

Contact us for a membership form or join online at
For sponsorship and funding opportunities, call us, 207.824.3036.

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