News July 2015

Published on Aug 21, 2015


At the Museum and More…

East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show
AUGUST 7-9, 2015
Better Living Center at the Eastern States Expo
West Springfield, Massachusetts

Capital Mineral Club Show
AUGUST 29-30, 2015
15 Loudon Road, Everett Arena
Concord, New Hampshire

48th Annual Denver Gem and Mineral Show
SEPTEMBER 18-20, 2015
Denver Mart Expo Hall
Denver, Colorado


Director | Curator | Store
Events | Science | Spotlight on Sponsorship

Directives – Dynamic Days and Wonderful Moments

By Barbra Barrett, MMGM Director

Barbra Barrett twoBuilding a museum is dynamic day-to-day adventure. Some days are busier than others, but like the old adage goes, it’s really important to stop and smell the roses. At MMGM there are many wonderful moments and highlights along the way.

A truly great moment this month was watching MMGM friends and community members stand in line to greet MMGM Board Member, Arthur Hussey, at our recent book signing. For those of you who know Arthur, I don’t need to remind you what a gift he is to all of us here. His new book, A Guide to The Geology of Southwestern Maine, highlights a lifetime of work that deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelf. I can say without hesitation that while Arthur lends his expertise to this project, it’s his kind humble spirit that I enjoy most. Hats off to you, Arthur for a great accomplishment!

MMGM at MollyOckett Days

MMGM at MollyOckett Days 2015

Even more recently, MMGM staff brought our mineral sluice out to MollyOckett Days here in Bethel, a great small town festival celebrating our Native American heritage. Witnessing the joy of discovery in a kid’s eye when they find their first tourmaline or even a piece of colorless quartz reminds all of us why we are building this museum in the first place. MMGM Mineralogist, Al Falster, worked the sluice all day, not because he had to, but because he was having as much fun as the kids. That’s the kind of passion that sparks the curiosity of future geologists.

The long and short of it, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, there are great things happening all around us.

Collections – Preserving Maine Minerals and Gems

By Carl Francis, PhD

Carl Francis, MMGM Curator“Collections” are essential resources that distinguish museums from other kinds of institutions. In his first public presentations about founding the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum, Larry Stifler spoke of “preserving in Maine and bringing back to Maine some of its best minerals and gems.” This goal has already been largely fulfilled.

The successive purchases of the Sweatt, Perham and Woodman collections are key acquisitions. Together they make a robust foundation for building a comprehensive museum collection of minerals and gems from Maine that support exhibits, education and research.

The right tourmaline COLLECTIONS

Newry Tourmaline Sweatt Collection

These collections are quite different from one another. Dale Sweatt’s crystals, gems and jewels of elbaite–gem tourmaline–from the historic 1972 bonanza discovery at the Dunton quarry is a veritable treasure trove. Nowhere else is such a quantity of colorful Newry tourmaline preserved; it will forever be a hallmark of the MMGM collection.

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Aldrich Aquamarine, Perham Collection

The collection from Perham’s of West Paris was the best and best-known display of Maine minerals in Maine…for decades. It is planned to be displayed on the second floor of the museum along with a diorama of the Maine Mineral Store featuring a manikin of Stanley Perham behind the counter.

Auburn collector Ray Woodman probably assembled the most comprehensive collection of Maine minerals ever amassed. The collection has extraordinary depth in the species from Maine’s prolific pegmatites as well as minerals from other geological environments and other parts of the state. Woodman specimens will be seen throughout the museum.

unnamed four COLLECTIONS

Grossular Garnet, Woodman Collection

The challenge before us is to catalog and integrate all the acquisitions into a single collection that supports the museum’s many programs and purposes.

Events – Arthur Hussey’s Book Signing Social

By Amy Halsted, MMGM Communications

Amy-Halsted-1MMGM held a wonderful Summer Social — the first of many such events — that celebrated Arthur Hussey II’s new book, A Guide to the Geology of Southwestern Maine. MMGM Board Member and Professor of Geology, Emeritus, Bowdoin College, Arthur is widely considered an entertaining authority of Maine’s rich geological diversity. The event was held on July 10, 2015 from 6:30-8:30 pm at MMGM, 99 Main Street, Bethel, Maine.

Representing MMGM Mary McFadden, Barbra Barrett, Larry Stiffler, Carl Francis. Representing Peter E. Randall Publishing Sue Martin, Deidre Randall In the front, author, Arthur M. Hussey II.

Representing MMGM Mary McFadden, Barbra Barrett, Larry Stiffler, Carl Francis. Representing Peter E. Randall Publishing Sue Martin, Deidre Randall In the front, author, Arthur M. Hussey II.

“MMGM continues its primary mission of providing educational forums for its Charter Members, Advisory Committee and all science and Maine communities through events like the one held to commemorate Art Hussey’s book,” says Barbra Barrett.

Arthur M. Hussey II PhDMMGM is organizing additional book signing activities in Maine during August and September. To order a copy of A Guide to the Geology of Southwestern Maine, individuals may email or call 207.824.3036. Book distributors may carry the volume (contacting MMGM at 207.824.3036); distribution to book stores is also planned.

Treasures – Museum Store Welcomes Liz Stefany

by Annemarie Saunders

Annemarie Cropped

Liz Stefany,  Carrabassett Valley Jewelry, Creating Lines for MMGM

Liz Stefany,
Carrabassett Valley Jewelry, Creating Lines for MMGM

With its deep community roots, MMGM is dedicated to providing a forum for local artists and is impressed by Elizabeth (Liz) Stefany of Carrabassett Valley Jewelry’s work and ski-related jewelry.

So, we asked if she could add gems from our collection to her existing designs, making them unique to our mission and the far reaching interests of our visitors.

Northwoods Pendant, Front Side

Northwoods Pendant, Front Side

Liz is excited and happy to collaborate and has created one of our most popular lines of jewelry. This summer she’s adding Northwoods extraordinary two-sided pendants combining native Maine wood, cherry, curly maple and bird’s eye maple with Maine gemstones.

Northwoods Pendant, Back Side

Northwoods Pendant, Back Side

The Museum Store collection also includes Maine Tourmaline, Rose Quartz, Aquamarine, Amethyst and Smoky Quartz to name but a few.

Store Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more about Liz Stefany and Carrabassett Valley Jewelry, visit:

Science – From Maine’s Pegmatites to Poland’s Scientists

By Al Falster, M.S. and Skip Simmons, Jr. Ph.D.

Al Falster and Skip Simmons

Skip Simmons with participants at the type location for lepidolite and rossmanite near Rozna, Czech Republic

Skip Simmons with participants at the type location for lepidolite and rossmanite near Rozna,
Czech Republic

In truly exciting news, MP2 research group has now relocated from the University of New Orleans to MMGM. MP2 stands for mineralogy, petrology and pegmatology with research now focused on pegmatites in Maine.

In June, MMGM’s MP2 Research Group presented two papers and one poster at the Peg2015 meeting in Ksiaz, Poland. Skip Simmons presented the paper: ‘Pollucite from Three Distinct Assemblages in the Mount Mica Pegmatite, Paris, Oxford County, Maine, while Alexander “Al” Falster, M.S. presented the paper: “Tin, Niobium, and Tantalum Mineralization in the Emmons Pegmatite, Greenwood, Oxford County, Maine.” Both papers were very well received by the 90+ audience, many of whom expressed a keen desire to travel all the way to Maine for future exploration.

Skip and Al are also co-authors on a poster presented by our colleague Pietro Vignola: “On the Crystal-Chemistry of Bjarebyite, (Ba,Sr)(Mn2+,Fe2+,Mg)2 Al2(PO4)3(OH)3 from the Palermo #1 Pegmatite, Grafton County, New Hampshire.”

One of the quarries visited in the Strzegom area, Poland

One of the quarries visited in the Strzegom area, Poland

In the laboratory, we are making good progress in bringing our equipment into operational status. For the first time, we had an electron beam generated on the ARL-SEMQ electron microprobe which indicates that the power supplies related to beam generation are functioning. We are waiting for a pressure-controller for the diffusion pump water circulation to progress to the next step.

The JEOL-JSM-6400 scanning electron microscope also progressed further; we are able to generate a vacuum well within the operational range.

The Beckman direct-coupled plasma spectrometer is currently in use to collect data for two students, Alexis Lang and Joshua Hartley, from John Curtis High School in New Orleans. They are enjoying a weeklong stay in Bethel to collect samples and analyze them for a science fair project.

Support – Opportunity to Name Stones & Elements in the Rock Garden

By Bill Stockwell, MMGM Capital Director

Bill Stockwell-cropMany people have asked MMGM when the Capital Campaign will begin and how to make gifts to the museum. The truth is that the campaign began four to five years ago as the Founders acquired specimens, buildings, and started renovations to build the museum you see today.

Rock Garden threeWe invite donors to consider a naming opportunity in the Rock Garden. While MMGM’s interior spaces and galleries are being fully designed and installed, the board feels it appropriate to give people with a passion for MMGM the opportunity to name specimens in the rock garden as the first phase of the campaign.

The process to identify, evaluate, and place a value on the rock garden pieces is in the final draft stages and gives numerous naming opportunities. A permanent plaque will be affixed to each item citing the specimen’s source as well as the name of the donor.

Please contact Barbra Barrett ( to discuss your wish to name something in the rock garden.

As the museum finishes displays and collections inside, many more naming opportunities will become available and the capital campaign will continue to grow.

Rock Garden oneRock Garden two

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