Friday, June 18, 2010

A Gem of an Idea for Father's Day

Colburn Earth Science Museum: At Pack Place in downtown Asheville, North Carolina

The Colburn Earth Science Museum's Gem Fest this weekend - Father's Day weekend - probably won't figure into your plans, unless you're near Ashville, North Carolina. Which, of course, quite a few people are.

I hadn't heard of the Colburn Earth Science Museum until today: but it's been around for quite a while. According to their website:

"The Colburn Earth Science Museum is the legacy of engineer and bank president Burnham Standish Colburn, who retired in the 1920s to Biltmore Forest near Asheville. Colburn moved to the area to be close to Western North Carolina's rich mineral fields and the diverse specimens they held.

"In 1931, Burnham S. Colburn and his brother, William B. Colburn, helped found the Southern Appalachian Mineral Society...."

Burnham S. Colburn collected a whole lot of rocks, and when he died in 1959 his family decided to share his collection with the public. If he'd just gone around picking up rocks at random, what we'd have would be a sort of glorified gravel pit. Happily, Mr. Colburn seems to have known what he was doing, and so have the curators: so the museum looks like it's got a pretty good collection. Good enough to get specimens from the Colburn collection in The British Museum, the Cranbrook Institute of Science, the McKissick Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.

The museum's website is attractive - and informative. On the other hand, it's not the easiest to navigate. Well, can't have everything.

One more thing: Yes, the Colburn Earth Science Museum has fossils.

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