News May 2016

Published on May 18, 2016


Director | Curator | Store
Events | Science | Support


By Barbra Barrett, MMGM Director


At the Museum and More…

MMGM Tours & Talks
May 19, 2016
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Talk: The Other Maine Minerals with Duane and Nancy Leavitt

MMGM Tours & Talks
June 16, 2016
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Talk: Fossilized Coral Collecting with John and Debbie Whitney, Whitney’s Rocks to Gems

Mollyockett Day
July 16, 2016
9:00 – 5:00
Come visit us on the Common our Sluice will be running! Museum Store and Preview Gallery will also be open.

Barbra Barrett-1May has been quite an eventful and memorable month for us here at MMGM. The First annual MMGM Mineralogical Heritage Awards Banquet, the Fourth Annual New England Mineral Conference and a special announcement from the Museum’s co-founder. This event most assuredly left many of us feeling revived and grateful for the many people that make up our mineral community.

In collaboration with NEMC, MMGM hosted the inaugural MMGM Mineralogical Heritage Awards; this year, we honored Stan, Hazel, Frank and Jane Perham. Surrounded by a full house of friends and family, the Perham’s were the recipients of the award for their family’s multi-generational contribution to the mineral world. The hall was filled with an incredible display of minerals and memorabilia from the Perham’s collections that helped pay tribute to a lifetime of mining, collecting and operating their historic store front that first opened in 1919. It was such an honor to have seen so many of you there to support the event and the family which has truly earned a special place in the hearts of so many.

barb1The NEMC conference commenced on Friday morning, May 6th with Education Day, hosting over 500 regional school students who were exposed a wide variety of hands-on instructive lessons promoting geological sciences. Everyone’s enthusiasm was palpable. The weekend continued with excellent speakers and a favorite pastime of many…perusing the dealer wing for the next great find. NEMC concluded with field trips to both Mt. Mica and the Havey Quarry on Sunday where, as rumor has it, there were a few lucky finds. NEMC’s growing attendance and support is evidence to the deep commitment to preserving and fostering the legacy of Maine mining and its brilliant results.

barb3During the banquet on Friday evening, Dr. Lawrence Stifler, MMGM’s co-founder, announced that on the recommendation of Jay Paulus of Paulus Design Group—MMGM’s designer—its exhibit halls will fully open to select groups in May 2017 with its formal opening shortly thereafter. Extraordinary vision, leadership, generosity and community spirit enable this milestone. The MMGM Museum Store, Preview Gallery, MP2 Research laboratory and educational programming are already open and underway. Stop in and see us. Moreover, thank you to all who were a part of an incredible, milestone weekend!

Collections-Internships as a Win-Win for All

By Carl Francis, PhD

Carl Francis, MMGM Curatorcarl-articleInternships—including housing and a stipend—have been a hallmark of MMGM’s education program from the very start. A cornerstone of many academic institutional science curriculums, MMGM offers a unique learning environment, provides solid experience and is an essential stepping-stone to a lifelong career path. Over the past several years, MMGM’s interns have set the bar in excellence and enduring relationships with us.

MMGM hosted our first intern, Fred Bailey (in 2012), Myles Felch (in 2012 and 2013) and Karl Koehler (in the summer of 2013), all several years before we even moved into the current museum building. Fred is now MMGM’s collections manager. Myles, as you learned last month, is now MMGM’s Assistant Curator!
In the winter of 2013 to 2014, Bethel native Parker Thurston was a creative writer for advertising and development before moving to Colorado. Barbra Barrett described Bates College geology graduate Michelle Devoe’s internship in the September 2015 Newsletter. I especially appreciate her work with the David Seaman Mineral Collection. Michelle now works at an environmental firm in Portland.

We are very pleased to welcome Haley Stifler, our newest addition to the MMGM team. Haley joins us from San Diego, California. Haley is very familiar with the Bethel area, having spent her childhood summering in Albany Twp with her family. As a result, she has always had an appreciation and a fondness for Maine and the rich history of the state’s geology. As the daughter of the MMGM founders, Dr. Lawrence Stifler and Ms. Mary McFadden, J.D., Haley is pleased and honored to be involved in the museum as a member of the next generation to help preserve the legacy of not only the museum, but of Maine’s minerals as well.

Haley studied Communications journalism at Simmons College in Boston before moving to California in 2009 to pursue a career as a counselor in the crisis management field for several years before going back to school to pursue her life-long dream of working in fashion design, merchandising, event planning and interior design.

Haley will be a generalist during her time with MMGM to have exposure to as many aspects of the museum and its day to day operations as possible. Her first week started with a hands-on immersion to the recently acquired collection of Frank Perham, and helped prepare several collections of acquired reading materials for the archives. She recently assisted in planning her first event as an intern, the Annual MMGM Heritage Awards, which honored the Perham family for their lifetime commitment to their work with gems and mining. She is actively planning another event to be held this July, and will be involved in marketing and development later on. She has also made it known she really hopes to have the opportunity to work with Al and Skip in the world-class research lab.

Maine Mineral & Gem Museum is committed to finding opportunities to explore all facets of educational programming and is committed to future internship opportunities in collections, development, education and the research laboratory.

Events-April Third Thursday Talk & Rumford Historical Society

By Amy Halsted, MMGM Communications

Amy HalstedNancy Leavitt-smThird Thursdays Tour & Talks: May 19, 2016 from 3:00-4:30 pm. The Other Maine Minerals with Duane and Nancy Leavitt.

Duane Leavitt started collecting rocks, minerals, and fossils when he was about 7 years old. By high school he had set off his first dynamite blast—under supervision of his father—in pursuit of fine-grained, carving grade lepidolite.

Duane majored in geology and graduated with a BS in 1968. Most all of the jobs at that time were in the Middle East which had no appeal to him. He took a teaching position for two years before getting a Master’s in education.

Duane met Nancy, who has a BS in geography and history, in 1971. The Leavitt’s taught for 30 years and 33 years respectively at the secondary level.

Nancy and Duane Leavitt 1-smTheir first collecting trip together was to the Bennett Quarry one Sunday in 1971. On that day Nancy found a 4”- long beryl crystal in a puddle, in the mine road, on the way into the quarry. A harbinger it seemed, they were married six months later.

Together the Leavitt’s have traveled the U.S. and Canada in search of minerals; one of their favorite haunts is Nova Scotia where they spent their honeymoon. They’ve have operated a specimen business since 1974, leased a couple of locations to mine for specimens, sold bulk materials to Ward’s Natural Science, bought and sold collections, and sold at mineral shows in Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. They have published articles in Mineralogical Record, Rocks & Minerals and Mineral News.

Duane and Nancy were both members of the Maine Mineral Symposium (now defunct) Committee and chaperoned many collecting trips for both adults and children over the years. Even after 45 years of chasing rocks together, they still have a high degree of interest in geology, mineralogy and paleontology and continue learning in these areas.

Treasures-Mahoosuc Range Jewelry

By Maggie Kroenke
MaggieMahoosuc Jewelry 2-smLooking out the windows of the MMGM Store, you immediately notice the rolling mountains of the Mahoosuc range. Taking inspiration from those mountains, Derek Katzenbach designed these pendant and earring sets exclusively for the MMGM Museum Store. Derek, a multi-faceted jeweler from Maine, sat with members of the MMGM Museum Store staff and created this design using our input. They are available in the store and set with a range of Maine’s beautiful and varied gemstone colors. The flexibility of this new design allows for customers to customize by selecting gemstones of their choosing.

Derek attended the College of the Atlantic and during this time he became friends with Addison Saunders, a well-known Maine jeweler. He also received his Graduate Gemology and Graduate Jeweler degrees from the Gemological Institute of America. Derek is an amazing gem cutter and jewelry designer and we are ecstatic to have him designing for us!

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

Science-Meteorites and Pallasites Up Close & Personal

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


science May 1The JEOL Scanning electron microscope has been recently upgraded with a new analytical package and is now analyzing samples again! The analytical program ‘Iridium Ultra’, part of an integrated software package by IXRFSystems, Inc., is now installed and operational. This package permits the acquisition of electron images (both secondary and backscattered electron modes), the acquisition of energy dispersive X-ray spectra (EDS), and the collection of energy dispersive X-ray line scans and X-ray maps. It is also possible to perform image analyses, such as counting and measuring particles. Output can be accomplished in a variety of image file formats. Below are a couple examples of an energy dispersive spectrum, backscattered electron images and X-ray maps. An energy dispersive spectral analysis of manganotantalite (see picture at right), showing the presence of tantalum, niobium, manganese and a little iron.

On the bottom, upper left, you will see a  backscattered electron image of a sample from a tourmaline pocket from at the Havey Pegmatite in Poland, Androscoggin Co., Maine. To the upper right, the X-ray map illustrates the distribution of 3 elements: aluminum, green; silicon, red and potassium, purple to blue. Tourmaline appears bright green, quartz is red and micas and feldspars appear purple to blue. The oval feature in the left image is an intergrowth of potassium feldspar with muscovite.

science-togetherThe backscattered electron image lower left is a sample of pollucite/cesian analcime from a Havey pegmatite pocket (this the first documented occurrence of cesian analcime at the Havey). The image of the X-Ray map shown at the bottom right shows aluminum in green. This is an unusual specimen. Pollucite is the bright material which appears as sharp crystals enclosed in the darker cesian analcime.

Support-Please Suggest People Who Will “Dig It” with Us

By William F. Stockwell, Fundraising Consultant

Bill Stockwell-cropPeople visit Maine’s museums for many reasons: to sample the state’s artistic output, to learn about its history and natural environment, to see special exhibits, to entertain family, friends and visitors, and a host of other opportunities to explore. Simply, Maine’s museums constitute a central pillar of the state’s cultural wealth.

Maine’s museums are also substantial economic enterprises and drivers. They employ hundreds of people; maintain millions of dollars of buildings and equipment; and collect, preserve, protect, and display priceless and ever-changing stocks of cultural artifacts. They influence millions of dollars of sales to Maine businesses that clean their spaces, plow their parking lots, maintain and repair their equipment, advertise their exhibits and shows, handle their banking and provide the hundreds of other services museums require to run their operations. Finally, and most importantly, each year they attract hundreds of thousands of visitors who stay in local hotels, motels, B&Bs, and spend money in local stores and restaurants. These visitors effect substantial economic impact throughout the state.

Local communities understand and value the role of museums and that museums benefit the local community in a reciprocal relationship of mutual benefit. The broader global community also understands and has strong views about the roles of museums, particularly as places that provide information.

MMGM is already a vital economic engine for Maine and for the great Bethel area. It impacts jobs, visitors, local/regional/international tourism, lodging, dining, conferences, workshops, research, and volunteer opportunity. MMGM also provides a meaningful resource in developing an appreciation of place and culture, community pride, preserving heritage, and opportunities for learning across all age levels.

Source: Maine Museums-An Economic Impact Study, 2010



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