Volume 5, #1 January 18, 2002
Board of Directors:
& Newsletter Ed.
Jean F. DeMouthe
George E. Harlow
Marc L. Wilson
Paula N. Wilson
Michael A. Wise
In some ways we will all remember 2001 as a sad and sometimes shocking year. The events of September 11 jolted our entire world. Those of us in the mineral museum world were also forced to deal with the tragic and untimely deaths of two of our own. Suzanne Cowan, the current vice president of SMMP, was taken by illness. Joe Nagel, a past president of SMMP, died in a traffic accident. They were good friends and valued colleagues to many of us and they will be greatly missed. Later in this newsletter you will see that we have dedicated our Tucson program to their memory.
But 2001 was also a year of progress for our organization. On October 26, a group of mineral museum curators meeting at the Munich Show established the European Branch of SMMP. A report on that meeting is provided below. This move represents a major step in making SMMP a more international organization. You will recall that in last January's newsletter I reported that the IMA Commission on Museums. meeting in Melbourne, Australia in December of 2000, resolved to support SMMP's efforts to unite mineral museum professionals worldwide. I hope that all of you will support our effort by encouraging your mineral museum colleagues world-wide to join SMMP.
Another very positive step was taken on November 5 when the American Geological Institute's Member Society Council unanimously approved our petition to join the AGI Federation. We see AGI membership as being of particular benefit in educating the larger U. S. geological community about the importance and usefulness of institutional mineralogical and geological collections and about the critical issues which they face. I ask every SMMP member to be on the lookout for other ties that we can establish, which will help us to advance the cause of mineral museums.
Finally, let me stress that communication is one of the most important benefits that SMMP can offer its members. There is no need for any of us to feel isolated from the support of our colleagues. The Internet provides a powerful tool for uniting us. Please take advantage of our Web site for posting information that will be of general interest to other mineral museum professionals and please take advantage of our group email address when you have timely information to share or need help with a problem.
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SMMP Web site: www.smmp.net
SMMP Group Email Address: email@example.com
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MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
Minutes of the SMMP meeting on February 9, 2001, in Tucson were circulated in the August, 2001 Newsletter. Our meeting normally scheduled for September in Denver was cancelled because of the tragic events of September 11.
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Making an Impact: How Curators Shape Their Collections
Dedicated to the memory of Joseph Nagel and Suzanne Cowan
Pacific Mineral Museum
New Mexico Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian)
|Early curators at the Smithsonian|
American Museum of Natural History
|From Louis Pope Gratacap to D. Vincent Manson|
Harvard Mineralogical Museum
|Palache and Frondel|
New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources
|A small museum's curators and their large contributions|
Seaman Mineral Museum (Michigan Tech)
|Jean Kemp - collection defender/preserver|
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A TRIBUTE TO JOE NAGEL
Sharleen Harvey, Curator
Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals
In 1997 we were essentially a brand new museum, in a residential facility, with an extraordinary mineral collection gathered over a period of 49 years by Richard and Helen Rice who as collectors, had curated the collection for their personal pleasure and to share with others on a personal level. It was now my responsibility, with only a collector's experience, to curate this collection and make it available to students, professionals, hobbyists and the general public in a meaningful way. We did have a hand written log of the specimens but it needed updating and not a specimen had a label. Joe spent time, energy, and expertise directing me in the most efficient way to computerize the collection catalog and prepare the collection for labeling and appraisal. In the process he filled in much locality information that was not included on our specimen records and made valuable recommendations for aesthetic changes in our display. In one week, Joe and I had 3500 specimens cataloged and labeled, ready for the appraiser. With the help of the computerized catalog, the appraisal was completed within 3 days with a valuation printout ready for estate lawyers, IRS and our insurance company. On top of all this, he was always just a phone call away to answer my many questions. I will always be grateful. He gave us the jump start to go from "a private collection" to "a professional museum".
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SMMP is now a member society of the American Geological Institute (AGI). On the AGI Web site the following description is provided: "The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 39 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 100,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind's use of resources and interaction with the environment."
We are confident that AGI will provide us with an effective forum for educating the larger geological community about the importance and usefulness of institutional mineralogical and geological collections and about the critical issues which they face. For AGI news regarding SMMP, check out the following links:
AGI News Release: AGI Welcomes Two New Member Societies
Geotimes January 2002 Society Page
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On October 26, 2001, a group of mineral museum curators meeting at the Munich Show established the European Branch of SMMP. The European Branch (SMMP Europe or eSMMP) will exist as a fully integrated part of SMMP with a coordinator to facilitate SMMP activities in Europe and a subscriptions officer to facilitate the collection of member dues.
REPORT OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN BRANCH OF SMMP
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IMA COMMISSION ON MUSEUMS
While the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals maintains no official ties with the Commission on Museums (CM) of the the International Mineralogical Association (IMA), the Commission resolved at its December, 2000, meeting in Melbourne, Australia, to support SMMP's efforts in uniting mineral museum professionals worldwide. As a service to members who want to keep abreast of the activities of the Commission, we will post the minutes of meetings of the Commission on Museums on the SMMP Web site.
Minutes of October 2001 Meeting - Munich, Germany
Minutes of December 2000 Meeting - Melbourne, Australia
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COLLECTION STUDY GRANTS
Two institutions recently announced the availability of grants to scientists for conducting collections-based research at their institutions. These grants provide at least partial support for travel and subsistence. For more information click on the links below.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
Research Study Grants
SWEDISH MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
(NATURHISTORISKA RIKSMUSEET, NRM)
Access to Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet - High Latitude
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For those needing more information on the subject of appraisals of objects for donation, Carl Francis recommends an article appearing in the September/October issue of Museum News (pp. 47-59), a publication of the American Association of Museums). The article entitled "Object of appraisal: legal & ethical issues" by Ildiko P. DeAngelis & Lela Hersh is quite comprehensive and insightful. It deals with such topics as when does a museum need an appraiser, finding and contracting with an appraiser, what to expect from an appraiser, IRS regulations regarding appraisals for donors, the responsibilities of the museum pertaining to donations, recommending appraisers to donors, and appraisals provided by museum staff members.
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MEETINGS OF INTEREST
4th International Symposium on the History of Natural History Museums,
Mineralogy, Gemology, Crystal Chemistry and Crystallogenesis
St. Petersburg, Russia - June 24-29, 2002
IMA 2002 - Mineralogy for the New Millennium
18th General Meeting of the International Mineralogical Association
Edinburgh, Scotland - September 1-6, 2002
MINERAL DIVERSITY - RESEARCH AND PRESERVATION
Sofia, Bulgaria - October 11-14, 2002
5th International Conference
MINERALOGY & MUSEUMS
Paris, France - June 2004
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SMMP dues are $10.00 U.S., payable to Anna Domitrovic, treasurer, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ, 85743. Any directory changes or additions should be sent to Tony Kampf. In Europe, dues can be remitted to Jana Hork, National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP, WALES.
Note that you can check your dues payment status on the SMMP on-line roster. The year shown in the last column indicates the last year for which you have paid. If you are delinquent, please remit your dues payment as soon as possible.