Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rock Science

Amethyst geode.
After a half-hour in the school bus with Aubrey's class today, we ended up at Crater Rock Museum in White City.

It's this completely unassuming building on the outskirts of dumpy little White City -- and it's amazing.

A donor recently provided over $1 million to add room after room to the once-little museum, and other donors have provided millions of dollars' worth of rocks, crystals, petrified wood, and fossils.

A rickety little volunteer provided us with a slide show and commentary, as well as semi-crotchety nudges from room to room through the museum. To her credit, perhaps she was only crotchety because the information she had to share was way cool and she wanted those wiggly little third and fourth graders to hear it all.

She wanted them to hear that every geode in one particular display case was worth $10,000, and that one of the geodes hadn't even been given its spot in the display before a buyer offered $70,000 for it. (That rock's still in the museum -- and it's this huge red crystal coming out of a mound of shiny black jagged crystals.) She wanted them to hear that there was amber imbedded with creatures 40 million years old, and that the thunderegg is Oregon's state rock, plain on the outside, but when cut open it conveys a wide range of colors that look like liquid when polished.

And here's the other cool thing: those wiggly kids may have been missing some of the volunteer's lectures -- but only because they were riveted by the gigantic colorful sparkly crystals, the real saber tooth tiger skull, the mineral atoms dancing under black lights in a special dark room, the huge fake raptor, and the real fossilized raptor dung, lying right where'd you think it should be under the raptor.

Who could compete with that?


Anonymous said...

What a learning filled field trip. Where is White City from Ashland? Know I'd love the place. Perhaps on our next visit.
Planning a Dane B-day event? I'm trying to get at least your Mom to Iowa St. anytime she can. She really would like a visit - hasn't been there since Christmas 2010.
JJJ/Grammy Jan Jan/ Mom

anjie said...

Jan, I thought of you the whole time!!! You MUST go there with us the next time you're down.