Since its opening in 1869, The Gems and Minerals Hall has been a staple exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. The hall has been part of the museum since the 1970s, and closed in 2017 to be redesigned as one of the New York icon’s 150th anniversary projects. Originally scheduled to open in late 2020, it was pushed back to June 2021 because of the pandemic.
Over 5,000 specimens from 98 different countries (more than half of which were not previously displayed), have all been newly cleaned and were now sparkling treasures available for the viewers' pleasure. Specimens have been thoughtfully curated into collections that speak to the mineral evolution and five forming environments. The Hall of Gems (faceted gemstones) had a stunning presentation. I had a difficult time leaving the room!
PROTIP: purchase your timed entry ticket online and arrive when the doors open to get the gem hall alllllll to yourself before the school tours arrive.
The re-design emphasizes educational instruction focused on updates in both design and tech. There are interactive displays, touchable specimens, and media. I must admit, I watched in delight as a classroom of kids interacted with a wall size touch screen, adding chemicals together to form minerals found in the Hall, and found myself wishing I had something similar when I was their age. A state-of-the-art lighting system, using cool and warm full-spectrum LEDs, illuminates the texture, color, and reflectivity of many of the Halls displayed objects. Additionally, short and long wave ultraviolet lights have been placed throughout to highlight the vibrant colors of fluorescent minerals in particular.
Is there any chance I can renovate my home studio to match this spectacular display? Probably not. But a girl can dream.
I am a GIA Graduate Gemologist and the new educational component added to the Hall was quite impressive! You could almost get a mini-gemologist degree for the mere price of admission to the museum! (Don't tell GIA I said that.) Bottom line, if you love gems and minerals, this exhibit is not to be missed!
Sorry to disappoint Marvel fans, but the photo above is NOT Vibranium, it's stibnite from China and one of the largest on display in the world, weighing close to a half ton! Curious about other gem and mineral museums I've been too? Check out my blog on The Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum for more gemmy journeys!