Abstract of a poster presented at the meeting of the International Mineralogical
Association in Pisa, Italy, on September 4 - 9, 1994
SUPPORTING MINERAL COLLECTIONS: A ROLE FOR THE SOCIETY OF MINERAL MUSEUM
DeMouthe, J. F.
(California Acad. of Sci., San Francisco, CA, USA), Harlow G. E., (American Museum of Nat.
Hist., New York, NY, USA), and Francis C. A. (Harvard
Univ. Mineral. Museum, Cambridge, MA, USA)
Mineral collections and the mineralogists who curate them play a primary role in
mineralogy, through exhibitions, education of the public, scientific research and the
support of research by providing specimens, data and information. Museums are under
increasing pressure to justify their function and mission which requires museum
professionals to communicate more effectively among themselves and with the public,
supporters and those who utilize their collections. Likewise, museum mineralogists need to
coordinate their activities to be more effective.
The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP), formerly Mineral Museums Advisory
Council (MMAC), aims to meet these challenges in a variety of ways. The mission of the
society is to "foster recognition of mineral science collections as essential
scientific, educational and cultural resources; to promote support for growth, maintenance
and use of collections and exhibits; to advance museum practice through cooperation in the
development, review and dissemination of information."
Current activities and projects of the Society include:
- An annual meeting at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show which includes a program on an
important issue or topic in museum and collection work;
- regional meetings where members can get together for a program or discussion;
- publication of a newsletter 2-4 times annually;
- maintenance of a Museum Hot-Line for stolen specimens (which will soon be
accessible through the Internet);
- sponsorship of exhibitions at mineral shows or professional meetings to foster the
Society and its goals;
- establishment of liaisons with other professional societies to exchange information and
work toward mutual goals (a liaison presently exists with the Mineralogical Society of
America and will soon exist with the Mineralogical Association of Canada);
- maintenance of a list of collections, collection management policies, and other
resources at member's institutions;
- selection of the recipient of the annual Carnegie Mineralogical Award sponsored by the
Carnegie Museum of Natural History;
- development of a workshop on standards and goals for mineral collection data bases and a
mineral collections networking group on the Internet to provide contacts and resource lists
for curators and scientists.
Presently the Society is predominantly a North American organization, bit it looks
forward to a broader membership and seeks cooperation with other organizations around the
world. Further information and membership forms are available through the authors.