American Mineral Heritage: The Harvard Collection

This new special exhibit, “American Mineral Heritage: The Harvard Collection,” produced by the Mineralogical & Geological Museum at Harvard University (MGMH) in collaboration with the UA Mineral Museum, will debut at the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium on Saturday, February 6, 2016. The exhibit features an exquisite selection of minerals from Harvard’s collection, the oldest university mineral collection in the United States, and one of the most admired collections in the world.

Most of the minerals in this exhibit have never been seen before in Arizona. The few exceptions appeared in past years at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. You’ll see world-famous gold specimens from the esteemed collection of A.C. Burrage that were donated to the MGMH. You’ll enjoy an entire case of minerals acquired through the bequest of A. F. Holden, a giant in the history of mineral collecting. And you’ll marvel at the “Rose of Maine,” a massive translucent pink morganite of beryl, on display next to the “The Peach” another stunning morganite from the same mine, which in turn shines next to a gem cut from the Smithsonian’s famous “Jolly Green Giant” tourmaline.

The wonders don’t stop there. Also on display are specimens of flourapatite, babingtonite, wulfenite, bornite and exceedingly rare spangolite that are among the best in the world. Another case contains one of the world’s top collections of fluorescent minerals from the famous Franklin, New Jersey locality. Even better, the massive “Fleur de Lis” specimen features a dazzling deep red elbaite crystal that’s nested among a bloom of frothy white albaite crystals and a giant clear quartz crystal – it’s magnificent.

Harvard’s collection, the oldest university mineral collection in the United States, dates back to 1784 when chemistry Professor Benjamin Waterhouse, appointed at the personal petition of founding father John Adams, assembled a small collection of minerals for course instruction. Since then, through donations and endowment, the collection has grown into one of the best in the world. Now, for the first time in Arizona, a captivating and comprehensive selection of Harvard’s minerals appears in a sensational public display. Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of minerals or a seasoned collector, this exhibit is not to be missed.