Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Hidden Treasure

Front view
Our trip to the Rice NW Rock & Mineral Museum is still on my mind this morning.  I like visiting museums (notice I didn't say love) but some of them can be pretty boring. We have a museum here in Richland called CREHST that we visited once and I'd rather clean house than visit that museum again.  But the rock and mineral museum in Hillsboro is really awesome. Cathy discovered that she could get a free pass from the library for 4 adults & 4 children due to some kind of program that provides for local taxpayers to visit the museum for free.  When we visted on Saturday, Gene had turned 60 that day and it qualified him for a discounted admit of $6.  Cathy and I both love a good deal! And, this musuem is a good deal even at full admission price.

We had a guide in both of the buildings we visited. The actual house that belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Rice before they died and donated it as a museum, was where most of the pieces are kept. It's a humongous house and we had a very nice, older lady greet us at the door. She told us that during the week, they have some 150 children visit the museum every school day so they don't open for the public until 1:00 p.m.  I got to thinking about the impact this kind donation has made on the local kids.  I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Rice had any idea how much their legacy would mean to Oregon's school children.

I decided to insert a front view and side view of this rock & mineral formation because I thought it was interesting that our grandson, Brevin, shot a side-view of it. He asked if he could use my camera and this is how he shot the photo.  His mom is a professional photographer and I'm sure he's been watching and listening to her for a long time.  It shows!
Side view

A real dinosaur egg!
At the museum, they showed us a 10-minute film about how this formation, the "Alma Rose" rhodochrosite, was discovered in an underground cave and the process for removing it. I thought it was going to be boring, but the film was well-done and kept my attention a full 10 minutes! The "Alma Rose" is a rare find and I feel special that I got to be in the same room with it. Here's how my mind works: I wonder how many other awesome treasures the earth holds that we'll never see? I just had to send a little 'thank you' into the universe to Mr. & Mrs. Rice for leaving this for me and generations of people.  What a great gift

So, then we visited the fossil room. There were so many fascinating things to look at and their displays were interesting to read. I think brevity is key for museum displays.  Our tour guide engaged the grandkids in a little conversation about these dinosaur eggs. Apparently, some are found with the actual embryos inside.  My imagination went wild just thinking about that.   At age 51, I believe this is the first real dinosaur egg I've ever seen. Wow!

Thoughts: I feel like I have a really rich life.  I have seen so many things and traveled a lot of miles and have only scratched the surface of what is available to see & do.  I'm really happy we had time to visit this museum ~ it certainly left an impression on me.


  1. HAHAHA I hope I dont ruin it for you when I say I saw that top picture and i thought it was a piece of moldy bread with pieces of apple on it!! I guess you had to be there!! Seriously, God has made an amazing creation for sure.

  2. Oh, I can totally see the same thing about the photo. It really did not photograph well at all. It was not as sparkly like a lot of other pieces displayed. The thing that fascinates me the most is the geometric shapes that are formed, along with the different colors. Truly mind boggling to me!

  3. The thing that got me is the stated hardness of this not-gem-stone. It is only a hardness of 3 on a scale of 1-10, and though it has a value of over a million $$$'s the value is not as a gemstone, but as a mineral specimen. These are so soft that they cannot be reliably cut or faceted without grave danger of fracture. The sheer volume of collection, housed in their 7500 sq.ft. house, which had the distinction of being the first single story {ranch style though with a full basement} home on the national historic register, was astounding. I guess the volume could be somewhat expected as they actively collected for 63 years, and from the looks of it, have about as much trouble letting go of their collected rocks as I do..


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