Paper No. 26-3
Presentation Time: 8:50 AM
COMMENCEMENT OF A MINERAL MUSEUM
What comes to mind when you think of a mineral museum? If you are in sixth grade, you might describe it as a place with pretty minerals that have stands or labels that explain what they are and where they came from. If you are a geologist, maybe you think of a collection representing a mining district like you might find at the St. Joe State Park in Park Hills, MO. If you are a tourist, you may think of a national collection like you would find at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Many colleges and universities have collections that have accumulated over the years and serve as museums to students and the communities. This presentation will examine the commencement of a new mineral museum at Calvin College from its conception, through funding and development, to administration and current operation. In 2011, the geology program at Calvin College was contacted by a 1948 alumnus named Bruce Dice. Mr. Dice and his family collected exquisite mineral samples, over a period of 30 years, from places they had visited, people they knew, and shows they had attended. The family agreed to support the development of a mineral museum designed to showcase “…a display of God’s handiwork.” The family collection was just the starting point of the museum concept. Having visited the Dynamic Earth exhibit of rocks, minerals, and gems in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Dice family wanted to have a designated space for the collection with appropriate lighting and security as well as storage capacity. Together, the Department of Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies worked with Mr. Dice, the donation officer, and campus staff to build the museum space. Support included funding for renovation of the space along with long-term funding of a geology student scholarship. The Bruce Dice Mineralogical Museum opened during the fall semester of 2012 and maintains weekly hours during the fall and spring semesters with assistance from geology faculty and students. The museum has served over 10,000 visitors and is currently a true gem in Western Michigan highlighting minerals, fossils, and meteorites from around the world.