News March 2016

Published on Mar 15, 2016


Director | Curator | Store
Events | Science | Support

Directives-Building a Museum:Exciting, Challenging & Dynamic

By Barbra Barrett, MMGM Director


At the Museum and More…

MMGM Tours & Talks
March 17, 2016
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Talk: Introduction to Plate Tectonics
with Dr. Karen Webber

MMGM Tours & Talks
April 21, 2016
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Talk: How a Museum is Designed with Jay Paulus, Paulus Design Group—Interpretive Museum
Planning and Design

43rd Annual Rochester
Mineralogical Symposium

April 14 -17, 2016
Radisson Hotel-Rochester Airport
Rochester, New York

MMGM Mineralogical Heritage Awards Banquet
May 6, 2016
5:00 – 7:00 pm
Grand Summit Hotel at Sunday River
Newry, Maine

4th Annual New England Mineral Conference
May 6-8, 2016
Grand Summit Hotel at Sunday River
Newry, Maine

Barbra Barrett-1I am often asked what’s it like to build a museum. It’s a loaded question. Exciting, challenging and dynamic are a few words topping the list of short answers. The question people really want to ask is: why does it take so long? I’ve heard all of you…it’s taking a long time. Here’s why. MMGM is not your typical mineral museum. Expect the unexpected. We are building a world-class, signature museum, meriting extra effort and time.

Directives 1What do I mean by signature? Let’s start from the beginning. Maine Mineral & Gem Museum has been built around existing architecture: namely, one new building and one very old building separated by a driveway. Connecting the two wasn’t easy, however we successfully built a link resulting in one fabulous structure. While we have a larger building than initially planned, it still isn’t huge even though the story we are telling is and will be told in intimate space tailored to our environment.

Jay PaulusMMGM’s exhibits will become what our museum is known for, better than the Joneses, and yes, signature. Our approach to design is outside-the-box, providing visitors with a different set of lenses to experience a mineral museum. For instance, the feldspar-mining exhibit will be a multi-sensory 4D period piece, taking you back in time to be part of a blast at a quarry.

MMGM exhibits will have great depth. Our story will not just be told by the minerals in the displays, rather by the people who mined them and those who are the cornerstone of Maine’s rich mineral history. Through an intensive oral history project, we are giving voice to the narrative through interactive exhibits interwoven throughout each gallery.

dgpIt’s a long and winding road on the way to a new museum. On our own, we might have gotten lost along the way. Luckily we have Jay Paulus, our exhibit designer from PaulusDesignGroup. He will be here for our Third Thursday Talk on April 21st to dig a little deeper into the question…what’s it like to build a museum? I hope you can join us.

Collections-Frank Perham Collection Preserved at MMGM

By Carl Francis, PhD

Frank Perham’s welcome sign at his home

Frank Perham’s welcome sign at his home

Carl Francis, MMGM CuratorLast fall Maine mining legend Frank Perham arranged with MMGM founders—Larry Stifler and Mary McFadden—for his collection to be preserved at MMGM. For ten years or so Frank has welcomed visitors from near and far to see his collection installed in the basement of his new home. Fred Bailey, Myles Felch and Roberta Hunt finished photographing, cataloguing, packing and moving it to Bethel at the end of February. Frank has already refilled the shelves from his storage container so that he can continue to welcome mineral visitors.

Frank Perham

Frank Perham

The Frank Perham Collection comprises 1,200 specimens. Most of his mining and mineral specimens are from the quarries in the Noyes Mountain part of Greenwood. From west to east these are the Tamminen, Waisanen, Nubble and Harvard quarries. The latter includes the Morgan Pit where between 1997 and 2000 Frank and his mining crew opened 100 pockets!

Frank Perham with Carl Francis

Frank Perham with Carl Francis

Myles has begun sorting the collection by locality. During this process specimens will be selected for a permanent Frank Perham display on the second floor of the Kennett Building. This spring a display of Frank’s minerals will go to the Rochester (NY) Symposium, the Cincinnati show and the New England Mineral Conference at Sunday River. Later we’ll draw heavily on the Perham Collection to mount an exhibit in the Preview Gallery, focusing on the Greenwood quarries to support the Town of Greenwood’s bicentennial celebration in August.

Events-Third Thursday Line-Up & Unforgettable Experiences

By Amy Halsted, MMGM Communications

Amy Halsted

Third Thursdays Tour & Talks: March 17, 2016 from 3:00-4:30 pm. Introduction to Plate Tectonics with Karen Webber, PhD.
Third Thursdays Tour & Talks: April 21, 2016 from 3:00-4:30 pm. How a Museum is Designed with Jay Paulus, Paulus Design Group.
Experience Lab Workshop: Invited by the Maine Office of Tourism, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, MMGM is attending the two-day Experience Lab Workshop which empowers attendees to “engineer unforgettable visitor experiences.”

From Campobello to Bethel, attendees at the Experience Lab Workshop in early March

From Campobello to Bethel, attendees at the
Experience Lab Workshop in early March

Led by Joe Veneto of Opportunities Unlimited—which provides workshops and facilitation services with a high concentration on tourism—the first day (March 3) of Experience Lab was designed for participant analysis of current branding, messaging and marketing while uncovering key forces that impact consumers through experiential filters. The second day (April 14) of the workshop will focus on story-telling and application of connection-making techniques through key intellectual and emotional elements.

Of particular note, all attendees were struck by how what one member of a community may say to a visitor will affect the visitor’s perception of all the members of the community. The same is true for the whole of the State of Maine. This idea was fully realized by the depth and breadth of workshop attendees. Diversity and east to west and north to south was well represented by Roosevelt Campobello International Park, Moosehead Lake Region, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Biddeford Mill Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Baxter Brewing, Allagash Canoe Trips among many more.

MMGM looks forward to working closely with Maine’s great institutions, destinations and boutique businesses in the positive effect we all have on visitors to our great state and on each other.

Treasures-The Book Nook

Annemarie 2016-cropMMGM’s Publishing & Wholesale
Book Divisions, by Annemarie Saunders

Did you know that MMGM has publishing and wholesale book divisions? In 2015, MMGM published its first book, A Guide to the Geology of Southwestern Maine, by Arthur M. Hussey II, PhD. This is the beginning of many more publications to come.

On March 15, 2016, we’ve received the great good news that Arthur’s book has been awarded a Silver Medal and is one of three finalists for the Gold Award from the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Awards competition in the reference category. These coveted “Indie” book awards are managed by the Independent Book Publishers Association in Manhattan Beach, California. In each category there are anywhere from 30 to 100 title entries. MMGM and publisher Peter E. Randall applaud Arthur’s success and are breathless with anticipation of the Gold Medal announcement on April 8, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Treasures 2 HusseyOur wholesale operation began in 2013 when MMGM acquired Baril Books and thus began our “Book Business.” We carry books authored by Gary Baril, Philip Morrill, Jean Blackmore and the Oxford Mineral Association. In addition, to the Baril line of books, we carry all of CJ Steven’s books and other important guides.

All of our books are available for retail purchase in our Museum Store and we have several online at

Should you have an interest in carrying our books, please contact Annemarie at 207-824-3036 ext 112 or email I will be happy to provide you with the necessary information to set up your wholesale account.

MaggieMMGM’s Retail Shop, by Maggie Kroenke
There’s something about a good book that is hard to resist! From basic field identification guides to children’s books to textbook level reading, the MMGM Museum Store has a wide variety of publications.

Treasures 1 All booksThere are several factors that are considered when reviewing a book for the Museum Store: readability, scientific accuracy, and how relevant the book is to the Museum’s mission. I also rely on input from the Museum’s staff particularly on the science-intensive tomes. Readability is one of the most important factors; after all, if it can’t be read and understood, then why buy the book??

For field guides, I think good, accurate pictures are key. If the pictures can’t help identify rocks, minerals, or fossils while out in the field, then it’s not useful. We also take customer feedback into consideration, so check out our selection and let us know what you think!

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

Science-Publications and Presence from Africa to New Orleans

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

Al Falster and Skip Simmons

A scanning electron photomicrograph of one of the samples investigated. Nanofossils and clastic sediment particles are present.

A scanning electron photomicrograph of one of the samples investigated. Nanofossils and clastic sediment particles are present.

The MP2 had two new publications…

American Geophysical Union Meeting, February 24, 2016-Ocean Sciences Meeting, New Orleans-Louisiana

Optical and Gravimetric Partitioning of Coastal Ocean Suspended Particulate Inorganic Matter

Robert H. Stavn1, Xiaodong Zhang2, Alexander U. Falster3, Deric Gray4, Johannes J. Rick5, Richard W. Gould, Jr.6, Naval Research Lab., Code 7331, Stennis Space Center, MS & Univ. North Carolina/Greensboro, NC, USA1, Univ. North Dakota, USA2, Maine Mineral & Gem Museum, Bethel, ME, USA3, Naval Research Lab., Code 7231, Wash. DC, USA4, Alfred Wegener Inst., Holm, Germany5, Naval Research Lab., Code 7331, Stennis Space Center, MS, USA6

Theobromine: A Safe and Effective Alternative for Fluoride in Dentifrices

The Hohenstein, the highest part of the Erongo Mountains.

The Hohenstein,
the highest part of the Erongo Mountains.

Tetsuo Nakamoto, DDS, PhD,1 Alexander U. Falster, MS,2 and William B. Simmons, Jr., PhD2 1Department of Physiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2Maine Mineral & Gem Museum, Bethel, Maine. Journal of Caffeine Research, Volume 6, Number 1, 2016, ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., DOI: 10.1089/jcr.2015.0023

Aquamarine crystal from the Erongo Mountains. Maximum dimension: 4.5 cm.

Aquamarine crystal from the Erongo Mountains.
Maximum dimension: 4.5 cm.

MMGM continues its community service to science…
Al Falster gave a tour to 50 Telstar students on February 25, splitting the students into groups with Carl Francis and Barbra Barrett leading one group on a tour and Al taking the other to the lab.

On March 4, Al gave a talk to the Oxford County Mineral and Gem Association. The topic was The Erongo Mountains, Karibib District, Namibia: Mineralogy and Geochemistry. The Erongo Mountains are noted for superb aquamarine, schorl, jeremejevite and topaz. We have visited the location several times and one student finished a master’s thesis on it.

Scanning electron photomicrograph of Falsterite from the Palermo #1 Pegmatite, Grafton Co., New Hampshire.

Scanning electron photomicrograph of Falsterite from the Palermo #1 Pegmatite, Grafton Co., New Hampshire.

Introduction of the Falsterite List at the University of New Orleans…
The University of New Orleans has established a register—called the Falsterite List and titled after the mineral named for Al Falster—for students who have successfully completed the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) full course loads and above. The flyer is shown to the left.

The Falsterite List recognizes those EES students who have successfully completed 15 hours or more of coursework in a semester. Much like a dean’s list, the Falsterite List is publicly posted such that deserving students can be recognized by their peers. It is also appropriate to include any listing occurrences on one’s résumé or curriculum vitae (e.g., “Named to Falsterite List fall 2015 to spring 2018”).

Support-How Can MMGM Help You Meet Your Needs?

By William F. Stockwell, Fundraising Consultant

Bill Stockwell-cropMMGM is full of opportunities for people to be involved.

Mining, collecting, and leading trips for young people into most of the mines in this region for over fifty years has been my passion. Being asked to serve on the MMGM Advisory Council two years ago was a huge honor for me as I have been able to share my development skills with the museum board and staff.

The Advisory Council is a group of people who have been involved in MMGM since the beginning. We have gathered several times to see the progress of the museum in person and to lend our experience and skills whenever asked. Carl Francis, MMGM’s Curator, heads up the Advisory Council and keeps us informed via letters, gatherings and e-mails. The list of members is on our website.

We started our first membership drive a bit over a year ago. Those first year members are called Charter Members and their names will always be listed on our website. I am happy to help support the museum as a Charter Member and have asked several family members and friends to join as well. Memberships support the day-to-day unrestricted operation of MMGM. There are several different membership levels for people to join and there are benefits to being a member—learn more about these benefits on the JOIN US page at

Future volunteer opportunities include helping in the museum store, fundraising activities, special events, tours, visitor ambassadors, educational outreach and more. We will match your interests to our many volunteer opportunities, increasingly available as we grow.

Let us know how you would like to be involved.
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Contact us for a membership form or join online at
For sponsorship and funding opportunities, call us, 207.824.3036.

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