News July 2016

Published on Jul 15, 2016


Director | Curator | Store
Events | Science | Support

From the Director’s Desk-Future Generations

By Barbra Barrett, MMGM Director


At the Museum and More…

MMGM Tours & Talks
July 21, 2016
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Talk: A Bicentennial Look at Greenwood Mines and Mining with Carl Francis, MMGM Curator.

MMGM Tours & Talks
August 18, 2016 • 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Tour:  A Tour of the Bumpus
Mine – MMGM Staff and Interns
This event will be limited to 50 people and pre-registration is required.  Please email Annemarie at or call 207-824-3036 ext 112 to register.  There is no fee for the tour.

Sluicing Saturdays
10:00 – 4:00 MMGM Rock Garden
July 16th – Mollyockett Day, see us on the common 9-5
July 30, 2016
August 13, 2016
$8.00 per bag or 2 for $15.00

Barbra's photo

cc-myles &laurenRecently, I read a lecture delivered to the National Museum in Georgetown, Guyana by Emmanuel N. Arinze, President of the Commonwealth Association of Museums. He said, “The traditional role of museums is to collect objects and materials of cultural and historical importance, preserve them, research into them and present them to the public for the purpose of education and enjoyment.”

Arinze sums up the role museums play in society rather nicely and reminds me of the positive potential the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum has to impact future visitors, and future generations. He goes further to state the critical role and relationship that education and museums share; “In modern society, the museums baby footenrich the educational process by exposing children, and indeed the public, to their history in a positive way; they assist our future generations to understand and appreciate their history . . . through our educational programs, we should aim at bringing some “noise” into our museums, for “noise” is real in our society today. That “noise” will bring some warmth and excitement in our otherwise pale and dull museums.”

With that, I’d like to welcome a member of the next generation to our family. On June 28th, our Assistant Curator and staff geologist, Myles Felch and his partner, Lauren Taylor welcomed their baby girl, Delilah into the world. She will indeed add a little noise and inspire all of us to consider the next generation. Congratulations to Myles and Lauren!


barbra signature informal

Collections-Interns Develop an Exhibit Celebrating Greenwood’s Bicentennial

By Carl Francis, PhD, MMGM Curator

Carl Francis, MMGM Curatorcc-tiger bill feldspar mine (8)Our new interns Anna Maria Farrugia and Samantha Portnoy arrived in early June. Anna Maria is a geology graduate from the University of New Orleans (one of Skip Simmons’ students). Sam is a rising senior in geology and fine arts at the University of Vermont. Both expect to attend graduate school in geology and hope to teach. Among their various tasks is preparation of an exhibit on minerals from Greenwood to replace the current exhibit featuring the foundational Seaman, Bearss and Woodman collections. The new exhibit coincides with Greenwood’s bicentennial celebration on August 13th and will run through the fall tourist season.


Samantha Portnoy


Anna Maria Farrugia

With the addition of Frank Perham’s collection (see March newsletter), MMGM now holds more than 1,000 Greenwood specimens! Sam and Anna Maria are leveraging previous collections work by Fred Bailey, Myles Felch and previous interns to efficiently locate, review and select Greenwood specimens for display. One case will be devoted to the adjacent Tamminen and Waisanen quarries on Richardson Hollow Road. Another case will hold specimens from the Harvard quarry and Morgan pit on Noyes Mountain. The third will display minerals from the Emmons and Tiger Bill quarries on Uncle Tom Mountain and other localities in Greenwood.

This exhibit is a glimpse at the larger story of the mining in southwestern Maine that will be told in the permanent exhibits on the first floor of the Kennett Building.

Events-A Bicentennial Look at Greenwood Mines and Mining

By Annemarie Saunders, MMGM Staff

Annemarie 2016-cccc-tiger bill feldspar mine (3)The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum is supporting Greenwood’s bicentennial celebration in three ways. An exhibit of mineral specimens from the Greenwood mines will open in MMGM’s Preview Gallery at 99 Main Street, Bethel in early July and run through the fall tourist season. It will feature specimens from the collection of Nestor Tamminen, whose mine on Richardson Hollow Road is one of the best known in Greenwood. The exhibit will also include specimens mined by Frank C. Perham, son of Stanley Perham, founder of the Maine Mineral Store at Trapp Corner (later known as Perham’s of West Paris) and son-in-law of Nestor Tamminen. Perham is the dean of local pegmatite miners and still runs a weekend mining crew in Greenwood.

Greenwood Harved Mine Tim Heath George Shavey NoyesAccording to MMGM Curator, Dr. Carl A. Francis, “Greenwood, Maine had at least a dozen feldspar and mica mines active in the mid-twentieth century. Although commercial mining for these bulk minerals ceased by 1970, the mines are still explored by rockhounds and weekend miners who seek gems and mineral specimens. Scientists and students also visit the Greenwood mines to learn about granitic pegmatites, the special geological formations that host these rare gems and minerals.”

The Museum’s Third Thursday Talk for July will be “A Bicentennial Look at Greenwood Mines and Mining” presented by Dr. Carl A. Francis. It will take place at 3:00pm in the Preview Gallery on July 21st. The public is invited to attend — especially folks from Greenwood!

Greenwood’s formal celebration will be held on Saturday August 13th. On that occasion a collection of Greenwood minerals loaned by the Museum will be on display at the Greenwood Town Hall. It is being organized by Greenwood’s Dwight Mills, himself a former miner.

Congratulations Greenwood!  Stop into our Museum Store and see our new collection of Mugs featuring Greenwood Mine specimen photos.

Treasures-Minerals as … Coffee Mugs?!?

By Maggie Kroenke, MMGM Staff

Maggiemugs_2d_0001Maybe I mean images of minerals on coffee mugs, but absolutely!  We just received new coffee mugs and travel mugs that feature five different photos of minerals taken at high magnification (50X) on a petrographic microscope.  This type of microscope uses a mineral thin section, along with special filters and polarizers, to help to identify the mineral.  Using the polarizers produces cross polarized light, which creates the unique colors that you see in the images.  Attached to this microscope is a camera that captures the images digitally. Al Falster, of MP2, in the lab here at the Museum, uses these images in talks and in papers he publishes, but we decided to use them in a different way!

We feature five different images on coffee mugs and travel mugs that would make a great gift not only for those who love minerals, but for art lovers as well. We also hope to include more thin section images in the future (think t-shirts, notecards, calendars).  These photos also come to us from Dr. Encarnation Roda Robles, a research associate with MP2, who also teaches at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain. Be sure to check out the garnet and tourmaline image from the Emmons Mine in Greenwood.  Are there any minerals you would like to see close up?  Suggestions are welcomed!

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

Science-Intern Hard at Work

By Al Falster and Skip Simmons, MMGM MP2 Research Group

Skip and Al (2)-lr

anna4The laboratory has a new intern, Anna Maria Farrugia, from New Orleans.  Anna Maria received a BS degree in earth sciences from the University of New Orleans, and is with the Museum to gain experience in the lab.  She is planning to go to graduate school next year. Anna Maria has been involved with a number of projects already, including some sample preparation, analysis, proofreading, data evaluation and recalculation. She has also learned basic operation of the scanning electron microscope, and has analyzed several samples on it, and acquired images as well.

anna3Here are some photos of what Anna Maria has been doing: heavy mineral separations, recovering the heavy liquids used in the separation process (we are using water soluble lithium metatungstate for the process), picking grains for investigation on the SEM, and mounting and polishing samples for analysis on the SEM.

anna2*Anna Maria will be involved in a project recovering and analyzing heavy minerals from Oxford County.

Other recent activities in the lab revolved around finalizing several manuscripts for the special edition of the Canadian Mineralogist that is dedicated to Skip and Karen, and preparing a poster for the E.E Foord Pegmatite Symposium in Golden, CO. Anna Maria has become a valuable asset in the lab, contributing significantly to its productivity. Most importantly, she is learning many valuable analytical skills.

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