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... of the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals

Volume 3, #2      August, 2000


Denver Meeting
Pres. Message
Editors Drivel
Minutes - Tucson 2000
Newsy Stuff

Board of Directors:

President and Newsletter Editor
Mark Mauthner
Pacific Mineral Museum
848 W. Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6C 1C8

Past President
Jean DeMouthe
California Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118

Vice President
Suzanne Cowan
New Mexico Museum of
Natural History & Science
1801 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104

Virgil Lueth
New Mexico Bureau of Mines
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, New Mexico 87801

Anna Domitrovic
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
2021 N. Kinney Road
Tucson, AZ  85743

Anthony Kampf
L. A. Co. Museum of Natural History
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90007

George Harlow
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St.
New York, NY  10024

Virginia Mast
Geology Museum
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401

Marc Wilson
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Mike Wise
Dept. of Mineral Sciences, MRC-19
National Museum of Natural History
Washington, DC 20560


            The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals will meet on Friday, September 15, 2000, in the Main Lecture Hall of the Merchandise Mart.  The board meeting is scheduled at 1:30, and the general meeting will run from 2:00 to 3:00.   See you there!


            August.  Pretty much the end of summer, and a reminder to get things ready for Denver! J  Some thoughts

            Of all the issues, if that is what you can call them, that I've heard in the past regarding minerals specimens, two seem to come to the forefront.  First, there seems to be increasing discussion centered around the "production" of minerals -- everything from undeclared repairs and restorations to outright fakes.  The recent rumblings regarding German silver specimens provide a good example.  Second, more attention seems to be getting paid to new galleries recently, specifically in the form of gallery/exhibit reviews. Both of these issues are, or at least should be, important to museum professionals and I have been thinking about how SMMP can get involved.

The specimen fakes issue is one that I think museum professionals should really keep abreast of, and I cannot really think of a better forum than SMMP.  Museum curators are probably the most frequently consulted when members of the public question the authenticity of their specimens -- more than likely because curators are perceived not only to be knowledgeable, but impartial in such a situation.  Like it or not, dealers will always be perceived as having an agenda.  That leaves us.

As for gallery reviews, bring them on.  The more, the merrier. The lone reviewer, like the oft-stereotyped food critic, whose pen would make or break a restaurant, is not what we want.  However, to borrow an expression, it is a strong and wise exhibitor who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear, and especially given the new social environment we find ourselves, critical review is healthy.  Constructive criticism, especially among peers, is exactly that -- constructive.

Without actually getting into the details here, I can see all kinds of opportunities for SMMP display cases, programs/seminars and some publications.  I look forward to discussing these possibilities with you in Denver.

See you all there!

Mark Mauthner, President


As always, submissions and ideas appropriate for this newsletter, and of course, constructive criticisms are all welcomed.



Tucson:  February 11, 2000

Directors Meeting, 12:00 pm

Meeting was called to order at 12:05 pm by president Mark Mauthner.  He issued the agenda for the annual general meeting.

Treasurers Report: Anna Domitrovic, treasurer, reviewed her financial report.  Five thousand dollars has been moved from the checking account to the money market fund.

Newsletter Distribution: Tony Kampf and Anna discussed the distribution of the newsletter by e-mail.  A few sent by email were returned, so some peoples e-mail addresses must have changed.  All members who dont have e-mail got hard copies by regular mail.

Membership Directory: Anna inquired about the possibility of producing a hard-copy membership directory, since most people find this very useful.  She offered to produce one, but does not have all the data.  Mauthner also offered, saying he would make a new membership database in Superbase.  Jean DeMouthe noted that she still has the old list in Access and Paradox.  After some discussion, it was decided that Jean DeMouthe would create a new directory, with additions & corrections from Anna Domitrovic and Tony Kampf.

Computer Committee: Tony Kampf said theres nothing new with the Computer Committee, but he would speak at the main meeting anyway.

Collections & Curators Committee: Virgil Lueth said he would report on orphaned collections and curators and the activity of the Collections Committee.

Stolen Specimens: Bill Metropolis already returned to Boston, but no one knew of any stolen specimens.

Education Committee: Ginny Mast will speak for the Education Committee, on the Tucson SMMP exhibit on Brazilian oddities, and will discuss plans for the Denver show.

Publication Committee: Jean DeMouthe will issue a revised copy of the Publication Committee description and ask for contributions and volunteers.

New Business for the General Meeting:  website feedback, MM4 in Australia

            Ginny Mast suggested that we provide munchies at the end of the general meeting, before the program, to encourage people to come and stick around.

Meeting was adjourned at 12:38 pm.

General Meeting, 1:00 pm

The meeting was called to order at 1:08 pm by president Mark Mauthner.

            Roll call and introductions were made, and an attendance list was circulated.

Minutes of the Last Meeting: Mauthner asked for a motion to accept the September 1999 minutes.  It was so moved by C. Francis, 2nd by V.Mast, and unanimously passed.

Presidents Report: Mark Mauthner stated that due to the late opening of the Pacific Mineral Museum, he neglected his duties as president and promised to do better if re-elected.

Treasurers Report: Anna Domitrovic presented the treasurers report and distributed a copy of it to members.  She asked for any changes in members addresses, etc. and encouraged people to pay their dues.

Computer Committee: Tony Kampf asked how people had liked being referred to the web site for the newsletter via e-mail.  He urged people to check their e-mail addresses on the directory copy provided.  We have a list server (group e-mail) for members only.

Richard Herd asked about SMMP archives on the web.  Tony said he would post things as they come in.

Collections Committee: Virgil Lueth reported that the San Bernardino County Museum is without a curator; Bob Reynolds is gone.  The California State geology collection has been transferred to the State Park system, and a job description is being prepared for the new curator.

Stolen Specimens: Carl Francis (in place of Bill Metropolis) reported that there have been no reports of stolen specimens.

Education Committee: Ginny Mast discussed the SMMP exhibit in this show (Brazilian Oddities) and thanked all that contributed.  For Denver, she suggested a case about SMMP.  For Tucson 2001, she suggested a case on collection prices; an exhibit showing that good specimens can be had for reasonable prices.  SMMP members would bring specimens for which they had paid less than $50 within the last two years.  Jeff Post said that this will encourage new and the low- to middle-level collectors.   He urged members to think of interesting or unusual specimens for this project.  Members were encouraged not to discuss this project with dealers in order to keep it fair.   Tony Kampf asked about the logistics of arranging this exhibit, there was some discussion.  Pat Gray asked if gemstones would be included (yes).

Publications Committee: Jean DeMouthe distributed a description of the publications SMMP plans to produce and asked for contributions from the membership, and for volunteers to act as editors.

Election of New Officers: There were three board members whose terms of office expired on this day: Domitrovic, Lueth and Post.  Only three people were nominated for these vacancies, so they were elected by acclamation: Virgil Lueth, Anna Domitrovic and Mike Wise.

New business: 

1. Tony Kampf urged people to attend the Saturday symposium on Brazilian minerals.

2. Mark Mauthner asked if the newsletter should have a name.  The SMMP Pump was suggested.

3. Susan Erikkson offered to help organize an SMMP event at the MM4 event in Australia this December.

4. Richard Herd raised the subject of meteorite identification requests from the public.  The Canadian Geological Survey has created a questionnaire for people who think they have a meteorite, which Richard will provide to anyone who is interested.  He discussed problems they have with unsolicited samples coming in for identification.  They may have to have all samples opened by an outside person or opened in the presence of more than one person, to prevent problems of ownership and identification.

Mary Johnson said that the Gemmological Institute has a form for people to sign, giving GIA permission to work on samples submitted for identification

5. Mark Mauthner read aloud a letter sent by Don Newsome (UV Light Systems), thanking SMMP for input into his new UV light design.

With no further business or announcements, the general meeting adjourned at 2:04 pm

Post meeting election of officers

The board of directors elected the following officers: President: Mark Mauthner, VP: Suzanne Cowan, Treasurer: Anna Domitrovic, Secretary: Virgil Lueth.



Donations & Taxes

Presented by Jeff Post

            This program stemmed from a discussion that began with the receipt of a letter from John Sinkankas two years ago, regarding donation and appraisal procedures.  Jeff Post provided a written list of procedures and policies from the USNM, co-written by the USNM attorneys and him.  Sections of the document dealt with donations, appraisals, and subsequent disposal.  This document pertains to the USNM and may not reflect the precise wording used by the IRS or other institutions.  However, it provides a useful guide. A copy of this document is posted on the SMMP website.




The Denver SMMP exhibit will be $50.00 (or less) Specimens.  We are looking for specimens that were purchased within the last year (or so), and cost less than $50.00 US.  The idea is to show people that worthwhile specimens can be purchased.  Please submit your specimen information to Katherine Dunnell (  It would make the case more relevant if people gave a brief statement as to why the specimen was bought.


Weis Earth Science Museum

University of Wisconsin Fox Valley (Menasha)

Immediate opening for the founding curator of new earth science/mineralogical museum.

Minimum requirements:

  •  Graduate degree  (M.S. or Ph.D.) in mineralogy/geology

  • Curatorial experience

  • Experience in museum and specimen management, exhibit creation, and active community outreach.

Position responsibilities:

  • Assist in the final design of this new 5000 square foot museum, slated to open Fall, 2001

  • Direct all operations of the museum, reporting directly to the Campus Executive Officer

  • Develop the collections

  • Develop a volunteer staff, and when funding permits, a professional staff

  • Develop and provide programming (with the assistance of volunteer staff) for K-university educators and the lay public

  • Develop The Friends of the Weis Earth Science Museum

  • Collaborate with the Barlow Planetarium

  • Represent the museum to the professional community

  • Represent the museum to the media and local convention and visitors bureau

  • Assist with/write proposals seeking extramural support for the museum

  • Maintain and catalog acquisitions

The curator will be a Wisconsin state employee (Non-instructional academic staff) enjoying outstanding health, retirement and fringe benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience, minimum of $35,000. This is an endowed position.

UW-Fox Valley is located in Menasha, 45 miles southwest of Green Bay. In the center of the Fox River Valley, the region is known for its high quality of life, excellent public and private educational facilities, and low unemployment.

Send application package to Deans Office, UW-Fox Valley, 1478 Midway Road, Menasha, WI. 54952-1297 and include:

  • Letter of interest describing how qualifications are met

  • Curriculum vita

  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

  • Names/telephone numbers/e-mail addresses of three current references

Review of applications will begin September 15 and continue until position is filled.

The concept summary can be viewed at

The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley is an Equal Employment Opportunity

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