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The History & Mystery of Gemstones

People have been captivated by gemstones for millennia, and they figure into the historical legend and lore of just about every culture around the world.  This fascination with gemstones continues today.  If you are enchanted by the beauty of these colorful stones, join geologists Drs. Beth Johnson, professor in the Department of Geology/Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, and Joanne Kluessendorf, director of the Weis Earth Science Museum, for The History and Mystery of Gemstones lecture series. The History & Mystery of Gemstones

  • Learn about the geologic origins, mythology, history of gems, and where they are found. 
  • Discover how many of the gemstones got their names, their uses through time, how their value is determined, and their impact on society. 
  • Learn about some famous (and infamous) jewels like the Koh-i-noor and Hope diamonds and the not-so-famous diamonds from Wisconsin (yes, Wisconsin!), as well as hearing about some of the rogues and scoundrels who always seem to be lurking near the gems. 

In addition, guest lecturer Dr. Richard Djukpen of the UWFox Geology/Geography Department will offer some insight into the business of gold mining in his home country of Nigeria.  Entertaining and engaging, the four presentations in this series are well-illustrated, jargon-free, and suitable for a wide audience.

Lectures will be held from 6:30 pm to 8 pm on consecutive Tuesday evenings February 18, February 25, March 4 and March 11, 2014, in Room 1229 at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, 1478 Midway Road, Menasha, WI. 

The cost is $5 per person for the entire lecture series.  Refreshments, hands-on opportunities, enthusiasm and surprises will be provided.  Space is limited.  Please call 920.832.2925 to register.  Registration closes February 15.

Touching the Earth

Touching the EarthMuseums typically have specimens that are displayed behind glass, cordoned off by velvet ropes, or accompanied by “Do Not Touch” signs.  Whether delicate objects, art masterpieces, or irreplaceable historical documents, exhibits like this generally are inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired visitor. 

In contrast, geological specimens are tactile objects, displaying many textures, facets, morphologies, variations and other tangible qualities.  By their very nature, many geological specimens tend to be quite durable and relatively immune to damage under normal conditions. 

As a result, the Weis Earth Science Museum has removed the physical barriers and mounted this exhibit to enable blind and visually impaired visitors to handle a variety of rocks, fossils, maps and minerals and learn about the planet they live on by Touching the Earth.

Exhibit Dates:  15 January — 30 June 2014