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This years meeting in Tucson will hopefully
represent a milestone in the progress of our organization. We will unveil
the new grant program that was proposed at Tucson last year and developed
by the Board of Directors since that time. Years of dues collection
coupled with very few expenses allow us to promote our mission via a
financial assistance to qualified institutions. It represents a great
opportunity for our organization to make a tangible contribution to the
mineral museum community.
The program would not have been possible if not for some
forward thinking by our members and the work of some specific individuals. Tony
Kampf established the electronic newsletter and the low tech list server (now
high tech), providing the vehicle for our communication. However, electronic
publishing by itself would not have led to our currently healthy financial
situation. The membership embraced the electronic formats and essentially
brought the societies publication expenses to zero. Continued dues payments and
excellent financial stewardship by Anna Domitrovic built the treasury to a level
that allows us to start the grant program. Although the maximum is a modest
sum of $1000, it can make a real difference in many museums struggling with
inadequate funding for curation or display infrastructure. Think about how your
institution could benefit from one of our grants and apply.
Thanks to Peter Davidson for a report from the October SMMP
Europe-IMA/COM joint meeting at Munich in this newsletter. A very interesting
discussion took place at that meeting on what seems to be a recurring theme;
traditional classification and science based displays vs. aesthetic and
education based types (not either are mutually exclusive, of course).
Interesting reading and a subject we as curators come across often.
For those of you making the trip, I look forward to seeing
you in Tucson. If you will not be there this year, email me by Feb. 7 if there
is something you would like us to consider at the meeting.
Virgil Lueth, President
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2005 Board of Directors election
Three board member terms will be expiring this year. Please
be prepared to nominate candidates and vote. Board members whose terms expire
this year are:
Dimitri Belakovskii Fersman Mineralogical Museum,
George Harlow American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
Terry Huizing Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
expiration dates of the other board members are provided in parentheses in the
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COLLECTIONS POLICY PROJECT
At the 2004 Tucson
SMMP meeting, there was a call for compiling Museum Collections Policies. If you
have your museum policy online, please send the URL. Otherwise you are welcome
to email it to Patty Frisch (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send me a paper copy to Patty
Frisch, NMBMMR NM Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801. Please do so
before the meeting if you have not responded yet.
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SMMP LIST SERVER
the past, we have been utilizing a simple email distribution list for SMMP on
the email server at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
We have now established a real list server, also on
that server. You will see a few minor differences in the new system. The
new email address is <email@example.com>.
When you reply to an email sent via our list server,
you will be replying to the sender, although you have the option of copying the
Tony Kampf will continue to process additions to and
deletions from the list server. That way we can limit
the list to our membership and if a member decides that they want to be dropped
from the list, Tony will know whether to send them the
SMMP Newsletter by snail mail. Note that henceforth you will only be able to
send via the list server by using your email address that is on the list server.
This should be the same one that is used in our on-line roster..
Tony know if you have any questions or notice any
problems with our list server.
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Click on the
links below to go to the minutes:
MINUTES OF THE
TUCSON MEETING (Revised)
MINUTES OF THE
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Report on the joint
meeting of the
IMA-Commission on Museums and SMMP-Europe
Munich, October 29th, 2004
The 2004 meeting was the fourth annual
meeting of the European Branch of SMMP. The aim is to attract Museum Curators,
whether SMMP members or not, to an informal meeting to discuss items of mutual
interest. At last years meeting, it was decided that it would be easier and
simpler to hold the IMA-CM and SMMP meetings together. In previous years, the
SMMP meeting would precede the IMA-CM one, but it was found that people
attending one would also attend the other. The joint meeting was timed (as
always) to take place during the Munich International Mineral Show on Friday,
October 29th, 2004 from 4:30 pm in the meeting room A 52.
This year 21 curators from 9 countries
The meeting was jointly chaired by Dr.
Lydie Touret (Paris School of Mines/France) as Chairwoman of the CM and Peter
Davidson (National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh/Scotland) as European
co-ordinator of the SMMP.
Dr. Touret opened proceedings with a
short report of the 5th Museums & Mineralogy Conference (M&M5), held in Paris
from the 5th to 9th September. The conference judged to
have been a great success with over 150 participants from 27 countries
presenting 46 oral and 41 poster contributions. Among the participants, there
was a good mixture of ages with a fair sprinkling of new faces amongst the
battle-hardened veterans of the museum world. The lecture hall was always filled
in spite of the obvious attractions of Paris and the hot weather. Dr. Touret
also announced that there were 4 applicants to host the M&M6 in 2008:
St.Petersburg/Russia (School of Mines and University), Lisbon/Portugal
(University), and Denver/Colorado/USA (Colorado School of Mines). The IMA-CM
will now write to each of the applicants during 2005 asking for more detailed
information. A final decision will be made at the next CM Business Meeting
during the IMA Conference in Kobe/Japan 2006.
The M&M5 Report was followed by a very
lively debate initiated by Federico Pezotti (Milan/Italy). Mr Pezotti, along
with J.C. Boulliard (Paris/France) and Carlo Grammaccioli (Milan/Italy), made
some rather critical comments about mineralogists who claim that there is a
crisis in Mineralogical Museums. They also criticised those museums who
answered this crisis by developing new gallery exhibitions which only showed a
few aesthetic pieces and neglected the scientific content. Amde Djemai and
Lydie Touret (Paris/France) both averred that there was a kind of evolution
taking place in museums of natural history and that many institutions were being
forced to move away from the traditional-style of museum exhibitions.
It was clear from the debate, that in
the experience of many curators there are now two distinct groups of
mineralogists/curators working in museums:
- Those from a scientific background
who say, that scientific research in museums is still vitally important and
that, despite the splitting of mineralogy in different fields, Museums should
attempt to reflect the whole science and create science-based exhibitions that
explain mineralogy to a wider public.
- Those from a more artistic/design
background whose philosophy is to attract the public to museums by creating
exhibitions that show off the beauty of minerals and by using only a few
aesthetically pleasing specimens. This, they hope, will lead to greater
awareness of mineralogy/geology.
It was also pointed out to the meeting
that finance and resources play a very much greater role in deciding Museums
exhibition and research policies. In some Museums, mineralogy or geology has to
compete with a number of other subjects for money and staff to be allowed to
undertake research and exhibition programmes. This can have an enormous effect
on the type of exhibition a museum can put on.
It was announced the 2005 was to be
World Year of Physics As part of this programme, The Paris School of Mines (Ecole
des Mines de Paris) will put on a special exhibition entitled From Graphite to
Stuart Mills (Melbourne/Australia) urged
the meeting to make better provision for the inclusion of younger people in the
work of museums and especially in mineralogy. He pointed out that it was vital
to bring fresh blood to the subject of mineralogy and that by exciting the
interest of children of high school age, we could perhaps persuade some of them
to continue into mineralogy.
Terry Huizing (Cincinnati/USA) informed
the meeting that the Dick Bideaux (Tucson/USA) has passed away. Dick was well
known and well liked, especially among those who were lucky enough to visit the
As always, the SMMP meeting provided an
opportunity to collect subscriptions/dues as well as signing up new members. To
that end, I would like to extend a warm and hearty greeting to our two new
members, Gilla Simon from Munich and Gisela Lentz from Kiel.
The next meeting will be held on Friday
28th October 2005 at 16:30. I extend an open invitation to all
members of SMMP as well as Museum Curators who expect to visit the Munich
Mineral Show. Details of the meeting will be given nearer the time.
I would like to thank all the
participants of the 2004 meeting. It was a pity that in the short time available
we were unable to develop the debate on Is there a crisis in Mineralogy?
further. I especially would like to thank Lydie Touret for chairing the meeting
and providing her report on M&M5. I would also like to thank Kay Schrmann for
help with the arrangements, for keeping the minutes (on which this report is
based) and for keeping the meeting bowling along in his usual inimitable style.
Finally, I would like to thank Johannes and Hermi Keilmann for the free use of
the meeting room.
24th January 2005
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American Geological Institute (AGI)
Government Affairs Program
International Geoscience Advisory Committee
Collections Alliance NSCA)
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
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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,
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.