Volume 7, #1
January 26, 2004
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Those of us attending this years annual meeting at the 50th Anniversary of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show look forward to meeting again with our colleagues and perhaps adding a number of significant pieces to our collections. Most of our visits to this show over the years have been somewhat familiar and pleasant. However, this years show offers some exciting and yet intimidating prospects. The featured mineral this year is gold and the show promises what will be the largest gathering of gold specimens and artifacts in the shows history. However, the prospect of traveling and storing our own pieces for this show tempers some of that excitement. What kind of security precautions, travel/shipping plans, or risk evaluations have you undertaken prior to the show? If you are unsure or could use some advise, now would be a good time to consult with each other over our list server. Keep notes on your procedures, problems, and solutions so that we may perhaps produce a document that will be useful to other curators when faced with traveling and exhibiting expensive and/or sensitive pieces. Finally, please see the note on exhibit storage by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society later in the newsletter.
To effectively establish our presence at the show, please consider contributing exhibit specimens to the SMMP display cases. These cases are popular with the public and collecting community alike. They represent one of our major outreach efforts. These cases represent another way in which the museum community provides value to our constituents and highlights our mission to highlight collection resources, promote collection growth, and advance sound curatorial practices.
During the last meeting in Denver we discussed our dues structure and our finances. Our membership continues to increase and so do our assets. In the past our expenses were mainly tied to the costs of printing and mailing of the newsletter, which is now mailed electronically and costs next to nothing. Our main expenses today are our dues to affiliated societies. I would like to consider what should we do with our funds at this years meeting. What would serve our society and provide a benefit to our members? If you have insights or suggestions, you are welcome to bounce your ideas off the group at the meeting, over the list server, or to me personally.
Virgil Lueth, President
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The three-year terms for three members of the board of directors end this year. An election will be held during the Tucson meeting to fill these positions.
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Peter Megaw, exhibits chair for TGMS, offered last year to provide storage for museum exhibits prior to the main show. The best course of action is to contact Peter directly (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange the type of storage you want. He will make every effort to find satisfactory solutions.
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SMMP Web site: www.smmp.net
SMMP Group Email Address: email@example.com
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Board members present: Anna Domitrovic, Virgil Lueth, Jean DeMouthe, Tony Kampf, Terry Huizing, Paul Bartos, Dmitri Belakovski board members absent: George Harlow, Michael Wise
The meeting was called to order a 1:37 pm by president Virgil Lueth.
Anna Domitrovic gave the treasurers report, which is attached. The money market account is yielding 1.32% interest, which is an increase from earlier this year. VL said the treasurers report should be published in the newsletter at least once a year.
The agenda for the upcoming general meeting was discussed, members were designated to discuss certain items during that meeting.
AD would remind members about dues & urge them to check their information on the web site for accuracy. There was a discussion of how foreign members could pay their dues, which would be continued in the general meeting.
VL said that AGI has four committees needing representatives from SMMP, and the following suggestions were made:
Education comm: Susan Erikkson
Government affairs comm: Mike Wise
AGI Council: Virgil Lueth
Environmental geosciences advisory comm: no suggestions
JD, chair of the Education committee, reported that there will be two SMMP cases in Tucson for their 50th anniversary show.
TH suggested the program consist of several speakers on the subject of gold fakes, one of whom could be Ed Raines.
VL reported on the situation at the Denver Natural History Museum, and will draft and send a letter to their Board of Trustees regarding the mineral collection.
TK suggested the group ask Pete Megaw about possible methods of transport for gold specimens coming to the Tucson show.
Meeting adjourned at 2:00 pm.
The meeting was called to order by president Virgil Lueth at 2:05 pm. Introductions followed. Nineteen members and guests were present.
The minutes from the previous meeting in Tucson were read and approved unanimously.
Anna Domitrovic gave the treasurers report and reminded members about their dues and the web site.
Tony Kampf led a discussion on foreign members and proposed the formation of SMMP Europe to facilitate payment of dues and the organization of non-US meetings. A moratorium of a year or more on dues payment was suggested for all members, or for just foreign members. Since SMMP expenses are minimal, this would not be a hardship, and would probably encourage more foreign members to join and participate in SMMP. Jeff Post suggested making dues voluntary.
VL stated that, before Tucson, the Board would discuss possible changes to the SMMP by-laws relative to dues. Jeff Post pointed out that there should be some way to confirm a persons membership, if dues is eliminated. Discussion followed.
VL described AGI committees and asked for members who would be willing to attend those meetings, if they were planning to go to GSA in Seattle in November. There were no volunteers.
Jean DeMouthe reports on the Denver SMMP case, which was on gemstone fakes. There will be two SMMP exhibits in Tucson: gold fakes and gold from odd localities.
Terry Huizing proposed a program on gold fakes, with at least two speakers, one of whom should be Ed Raines.
Tony Kampf reported that Peter Megaw is working on getting secure storage set up for gold specimens before the Tucson show. Wells Fargo has tentatively offered, as long as they can deliver the gold all at once using both an armored car and a stagecoach. Information about this should appear in the Tucson show invitation, and if SMMP members have problems related to storage, they should contact Peter Megaw.
Jeff Post described how the USNM has items shipped to and from the Tucson Convention Center.
VL described the situation at the Denver Museum of Natural History, where mineralogist Jack Murphy was just laid off. Peggy Ronning of the California Mining & Mineral Museum also reported that her job as curator of the State collection may be in jeopardy due to budget cuts. Bill Cook suggested that SMMP encourage Trustees at various institutions to endow mineral chairs to insure continuous care of important collections.
VL described the Natural Science Collection Alliance (formerly Assoc. of Systematic Collections) and asked for a volunteer to work with this group. Mark Mauthner tentatively volunteered.
Questions were raised regarding the upcoming MM V meeting in Paris. Andrew Sicree suggested that we ask for an MM meeting to be held in the U.S. Jeff Post suggested that perhaps this could be done as a joint venture among Harvard, the American Museum, and the USNM.
Tony Kampf reported that the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society has asked for suggestions of other museums that may want to participate in their show, but have not yet done so. Penny Williamson stated that a lack of travel funds affects foreign museums ability to participate in U.S. shows. Andrew Sicree suggested that perhaps one person could bring more than one exhibit, representing several institutions.
Dmitri Belakovski said that new data on minerals is now being published by the Russian Academy of Sciences, including new mineral descriptions, discussions of museum collections. These publications are available through Rocks and Minerals.
Penny W. asked if it would be possible to publish collection-related papers on the SMMP web site. Mark Mauthner suggested that a database or list of pdf versions of papers already in print could be put on the web site (with publishers permission). Tony Kampf suggested that any ideas should be sent to the Education Committee (Jean DeMouthe).
The meeting was adjourned at 2:54 pm.
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Although the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals maintains no official ties with the Commission on Museums (CM) of 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.
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Terry Huizing was the only North American SMMP member to attend the European Chapter meeting at the Munich Show. One of their agenda items was the review of Tony Kampf's report, which mentioned we were willing to waive the payment of dues from our European colleagues because of exchange difficulties. The membership preferred the more traditional sign-up and pay-up to indicate their interest in, and support of SMMP.
Terry offered to take the dues paid to Peter Davidson in euros and send a check to the Treasurer in dollars. In addition to renewing SMMP memberships, six new members joined the society.
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The 2nd circular for the 5th International Mineralogy and Museums Conference is now available at http://www.ensmp.fr/MM5. All SMMP members should consider attending these always enjoyable and informative meetings. The conference provides an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with mineral museum colleagues from around the world.
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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 Peter Davidson, National Museums of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, SCOTLAND.
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.