News December 2015



At the Museum and More…

MMGM Tours & Talks
December 17, 2015
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Talk: Crystals & Crystallography with Al Falster

Rocks & Minerals,
Jan/Feb 2016 Issue

Aquamarine from Stoneham and Vicinity, Oxford County, Maine by Carl A. Francis, Myles Felch, Alexander U. Falster and Douglas Bailey

2016 AGTA GemFairTM
February 2-7, 2016
Tucson Convention Center
Tucson, Arizona

2016 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show
February 11-14, 2016
Tucson Convention Center
Tucson, Arizona



Director | Curator | Store
Events | Science | Support

Directives-The MMGM Community-A Sum of all its Parts

By Barbra Barrett, MMGM Director

Barbra Barrett DIRECTIVESIt seems like we’re all making lists at this time of year. Most are all about gratitude for the people and things we love. At MMGM it’s no different. Ours is an expression of gratitude for interest in what we’re doing here, a review of accomplishments and steps taken to serve as a meaningful resource and a hearty expression of thanks to our amazing community and staff for making this all happen.

I want to recognize our advisory committee, consultants, our volunteers, those who have donated to MMGM’s collection, those who have sat for an oral history (not once, but twice!), those who participate on the education committee, and those on the other end of the phone when I simply need advice. I want to thank Bruce Barrett, who hosts school groups at the
Bumpus Mine, effectively sparking the interest of countless kids in the region for many years.

It’s with the deepest gratitude that I thank all those who have joined us as Charter Members and those who continue to join MMGM as new members. The list is long. My apologies if I’ve missed anyone, however, I’m confident you know who you are! My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.

2015—A Bustling Year at MMGM

  • Grew our membership
  • Attended and exhibited at mineral shows in Tucson, Denver, Cincinnati, Concord, NH
  • Research department presented papers at the Rochester Mineral Show, the International Pegmatite Symposium in Poland and the Geological Society of America
  • Collaborated with researches far and wide, including Spain, Italy and Belgium
  • Attended the Annual New England Mineral Conference
  • Attended the New England Museum Association Conference
  • Exhibited at the Fryeburg Fair
  • Hosted tours at the Bumpus Mine…attended by several bus tours and hundreds of regional school children
  • Internship program ensued
  • Volunteer program developed and implemented
  • Hosted two middle school students from New Orleans for a week in the MMGM research lab
  • Drove hither and yon to collect rocks for the rock garden. And it looks great!
  • Third Thursday Tours & Talks established and thriving
  • Welcomed Al Falster and successfully moved a lot of equipment from New Orleans to Maine and managed to get a six-ton microprobe down the basement stairs
  • Published Arthur Hussey’s book on the Geology of Southwestern Maine
  • Designed exhibits, software programs and engaging interactive programs to enhance the MMGM experience for everyone who visits
  • Preview Gallery & Museum Store opened and what an incredible preview, boasting some of Maine’s finest minerals and selections from our out-of-this-world meteorite collection
  • Acquired Frank Perham’s collection, a wonderful milestone that will be preserved here at MMGM
  • And in the true spirit of giving, received many, many wonderful donations that help us in our mission to create well rounded, dynamic exhibits that are excellent.

It’s been another incredible year. It a wrap. Here’s to 2016!


By Carl Francis, PhD

Carl Francis, MMGM Curator

The numerous gifts received in 2015 came in different forms and serve various purposes. In last month’s newsletter Bill Stockwell spoke of why people give to MMGM and reported on the success of the Charter Membership Drive. Barbra spoke of gifts of time when she introduced volunteer Betsey Foster in the September newsletter.

More, we have received some two dozen gifts of specimens and artifacts for the collections. Specimens include rocks, minerals, meteorites and tektites. Artifacts include a diamond cutting machine, gold pans, memorabilia from the Perham’s of West Paris store, Trustee Don Dallaire’s collection of mica artifacts, and mining artifacts from the Trenton Quarry in Topsham.

I’m glad to note gratefully a gift of talent. A large block of pegmatite with an impressive concentration of red almandine garnet crystals from the Fisher quarry in Topsham was given by Levi ‘Sonny’ Chaverie in memory of his wife, Priscilla who was an active member of Maine’s mineral community since the 1930s. We thank Freshwater Stone, Inc. in Orland, Maine for transforming it into a manageable display specimen by cutting away more than half of the matrix. It is now displayed in the Preview Gallery.

All gifts advance MMGM’s programs and operations. They are also critically important in demonstrating – especially to granting agencies – widespread community support. On behalf of the museum I thank everyone who has donated to MMGM this year in whatever form!

Events-Crystals & Crystallography

By Amy Halsted, MMGM Communications

Amy Halsted

On Thursday afternoon, December 17, 2015, MMGM will hold our second Third Thursday Tours & Talks event. With the sense of creating the “fireside” chat for wintertime, each winter month, we bring you talks by our acclaimed staff.

With a wish for snow and knowing that all snowflakes are crystals, we’ve asked Al Falster, MMGM’s Research Technologist and well-known scientific personality, to speak on “Crystals & Crystallography.”

Al’s talk will introduce the basic symmetry concepts and explain what is common property of crystalline materials. From the three basic types of symmetry, and a two-dimensional approach, he will then move on to the three-dimensional realm. Crystal morphology and crystal forms will be introduced and the crystal system will also be covered. Point group symmetry and Miler indices will be the concluding aspects of the talk.


Third Thursdays Tours & Talks—December
Thursday, December 17, 2015, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Crystals & Crystallography with Al Falster

Treasures-MMGM Museum Store Creates “The Kids Quarry”

by Annemarie Saunders

Annemarie Saunders TREASURES

MMGM is delighted to have expanded our Museum Store to include a variety of gifts and an emphasis on children. Our newest child-centric collection is called, “The Kids Quarry.” We have a wonderful selection of educational toys, books, exploration/learning kits and t-shirts.

Our newest product is from Uncle Goose: beautiful, handmade, bass wood blocks from Michigan. We carry the Elemental Set, Odd Galaxy Series and Merry Christmas Blocks for show and play.

For the rockhound we have microscopes, crystal growing kits, mineral identification kits, tumbled stones and mineral books.

Of course with an unparalleled meteorite collection in our Preview Gallery and vaults, we know children are often the most ardent star gazers. For them we offer constellation memory games, planet makers, books on space and astronomy just to name a few enticements to the galaxy and beyond.

MMGM is committed to showcasing gifts and gadgets, educational toys, books and games to inspire the next generation of scientists. Bring in the kids, let them sit on our comfy rug and discover “The Kids Quarry.”

Be sure to visit the MMGM Preview Gallery and Museum Store. Store Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Science-SEM Images and Bates on the MMGM Campus

By Michelle Devoe, 2014 Bates Geology Graduate

Science 4

In an undergraduate mineralogy course, it is impossible to cover everything you need to know. To learn more, you must pursue either an advanced degree in mineralogy, or, like me, an internship at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum.

The sheer amount of exposure I’ve received here has helped me expand upon what I learned in my mineralogy course. From lessons on pegmatites and pocket formation, to casual conversations about crystallography and morphology, and then taking that newfound knowledge along on field trips to mines and pegmatites, this place is an aspiring mineralogist’s dream.

My interest in mineralogy has always stemmed from a fascination with the geometric perfection of crystal structures. While archiving collections and developing display cases, I’ve come across crystal forms that baffle me: joint crystal forms, like trapezohedron-dodecahedron garnets from Wrangell, Alaska, and crystal habits I didn’t know existed, like sceptered quartz or parallel growth.

And the best part—there is a resource here for every question, whether it be one of our experts, Al, Carl, or Myles, or a piece of lab equipment to aid the investigation. The only time I get stuck is when the answer is “we don’t know yet,” though I am thrilled for all we have yet to discover in the field of mineralogy.

But I’m not the only one learning here. There are also opportunities for the public to learn more about mineralogy as well. Our series of “Third Thursday Talks” continues, and this month Al will be giving a presentation on crystallography. You can bet I’ll be there!


Support-Why People Give to MMGM

By William F. Stockwell, Fundraising Consultant

Bill Stockwell-cropSupportTis the season of giving: of gifts, of parties, and of donations to charities. Some 40 percent of all individual charitable donations are made in December.

Each year as December 31 draws near, Americans are bombarded by requests for donations. Many answer those solicitations, happily giving to their favorite charities. This year-end generosity also might pay off at tax time, as long as you know and follow the IRS’ rules on tax deductions for donations.


  1. Income tax rates are as high as they have been in a long time. Therefore, your charitable gift is worth even more to you.
  2. If you own appreciated stock, it generally makes more sense to make a charitable gift of stock than to write out a check.
  3. Save those gift receipts and acknowledgment letters! For all charitable gifts the IRS requires you to prove that you made a charitable gift. Your cancelled check is no longer sufficient.
  4. Make sure you get the details on possible tax law changes.
  5. Questions about year-end tax planning? See your accountant or other professional tax advisor for additional information.
  6. Considering a year-end charitable gift to MMGM? Please give us a call if we can help answer your questions. 207.824.3036
  7. Timing is everything. Donations must be made by the end of the tax year for which you want to claim the deduction. If you put a check dated December 31 in the mail by that day, you’re OK. So are donations charged by year’s end to your credit card, even if you don’t pay the card’s bill until the next year.

Because of the potential for significant tax law changes at year-end, please check with your accountant or other tax advisor to review the best timing for your charitable contributions. These changes could impact your income tax, estate tax, gift tax, and/or other tax consequences.

Contact us for a membership form or join online at For sponsorship and funding opportunities, call us, 207.824.3036.


Warning: Missing argument 2 for themify_add_video_wmode_transparent() in /home/mmgm12new/public_html/wp-content/themes/mmgm-rwd/functions.php on line 111

Warning: Missing argument 3 for themify_add_video_wmode_transparent() in /home/mmgm12new/public_html/wp-content/themes/mmgm-rwd/functions.php on line 111

News August 2015

The New England Mineral Conference 2015

The New England Mineral Conference 2015 will be held May 8th-10th at the Sunday River Conference Center, only a short ride from MMGM in Bethel. Jeff Morrison, President of the New England Mineral Association, promises another first class event where the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum will be well represented.

  • Dr. Skip Simmons will be discussing the MP2 Research Group, formerly at the University of New Orleans, which has relocated entirely to the lower level of the Museum on Main Street in Bethel. MP2 stands for Mineralogy, Petrology and Pegmatology, three major areas of geological study.
  • MMGM Curator, Carl A. Francis, and colleague, Jim Nizamoff, team up again to talk about Tamminen quarry apatites.
  • The MMGM will participate in Education Day at the Conference by setting up stations where youngsters will get to sluice a bag of material and have a chance to find some colorful local minerals.

At this year’s conference, the MMGM will open its doors for a private guided tour for conference attendees. Guests will be able to view the Museum Store and Preview Gallery and explore the future exhibit areas of the Museum. For information about the conference, go to


UMF – Farmington – April 7

University of Maine, Farmington Professor Emeritus Archie W. Berry Jr., widely known as “Bill,” is a distinguished geologist, western Maine community supporter and board member of MMGM who will be hosting a presentation about the Museum. Curator, Carl A. Francis will be on hand to give a museum update. Berry joined the UMF faculty in 1970 and became full professor in 1975, retiring in 1996.


MMGM in Arizona

In February, MMGM was an exhibitor and participant at the 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the largest, oldest and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world. The show has enjoyed international stature since the 1970s, and was the first gem and mineral show to bring the hobby enthusiast, the public, and the curator/professionals together for discovery and discussion.


Maine Mineral and Gem Museum

A One of a Kind Venture in Bethel, Maine

by Dan Marios
Known for its charming New England countryside, quaint shops on Main Street and an array of bed and breakfasts, Bethel, Maine has always been a famous visiting spot for locals and tourists alike. Soon, it will be famous for another reason; the opening of the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum (MMGM).

“Originally, the plan was to add a one room addition onto the Bethel Historical Society” said Barbra Barrett, Executive Director for the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum. “Our project, today, is so much greater than the original idea.”

Curator Dr. Carl Francis  describing future exhibits

Curator Dr. Carl Francis
describing future exhibits

The project is well underway with the construction and renovation efforts to link two existing buildings on Main Street. A creative architectural design by Jim Reuter, has kept the visual and historic elements of the two buildings intact.

“You can’t make a museum overnight,” says Barrett. “There are so many details to make a first class facility. Every step brings us closer to opening the facility.”

“This is where we will display a 4,000 pound section of a beryl crystal from the nearby Bumpus Mine” she said, as she points to the entrance of the museum.

And then there’s a familiar sign that simply says, “Perham”, paying homage to the gem and mineral store and museum that stood in West Paris, Maine for 90 years. “This area will house the famous collection that was at ‘Perham’s of West Paris’ until its closure of the store in 2009,” explains Barrett. “The Perham Collection was the largest and best collection of Maine minerals on public display in its time.”

The upper level that will present truly impressive rocks; meteorites which are rocks that have fallen to the earth from the Moon, Mars and the Asteroid belt.

“There are only a few museums in the country that allow visitors actually to touch Moon meteorites,” said Barrett. “Our museum will be one of them.”

“The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum promises to deliver an immersive, well-rounded, and active educational component,” said Barrett.

Founders Dr. Larry T.P. Stifler and his wife Mary McFadden of Albany have assembled a large and comprehensive collection of Maine gem and mineral materials, purchased from miners, collectors and even science museums.

Barbra Barrett, Museum Director, with CJ  Steven, gold hunter, as he presents his nuggets to museum founder Dr. Lawrence Stifler

Barbra Barrett, Museum Director, with CJ
Steven, gold hunter, as he presents his nuggets to museum founder Dr. Lawrence Stifler

“Our collection is truly extraordinary,” said Barrett, whose enthusiasm for completing the museum remains strong. “We look forward to introducing visitors to a wonderful part of Maine and influence the next generation of rock collectors, gemologists or intergalactic rock enthusiasts.”
While earlier plans targeted a museum opening in 2013, it proved impossible given the additional scope of the project. Today, Barrett is cautiously optimistic for the doors to open by the end of 2015 or early in 2016.

“We have already seen great interest in what the museum will have to offer, so once it is open, I am sure it will be worth the wait,” said Jessie Seymour Perkins, Events & Marketing Manager for the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce. “We believe the museum will give Bethel and the surrounding area something to be proud of.”