MUSEUM MINERAL TREASURES
Although the Gitche Gumee Museum specializes in agates, our collection also includes many other fine specimens. Some of the best are included in the “Wowser Box.” For those that pay the $1.00 per adult admission fee, before you leave the museum, ask to see my favorite specimens, which are safely kept in the Wowser Box -- an antique wooden box made by the museum founder, Axel Niemi.
Many agate specimen pictures are included in the Agate Basics section of the web page. Samples of other museum’s specimens are pictured here.
|Angel Wing Calcite: Purchased at a Grand Canyon gift shop in the early-1990s.|
|Banded Agates: This display was developed to coincide with Michael Carlson’s book The Beauty of the Banded Agate. After a life-long study of agates, Michael has concluded that the best banded agates are: Lake Superior, Brazilian, Fairburn (South Dakota), Dryhead (Montana), Mexican, Queensland (Australia), Botswanian, and Condor (Argentina).|
|Brockman Tiger Eye: Also called Marra Mamba Tiger Eye, is from western Australia. It is an amazing natural wonder that includes tiger eye, chert, jasper, and magnetite.|
|Cave Rocks: In most areas, it is illegal to harvest stalactites and stalagmites from caves. However, several old-stock specimens are on display at the museum.|
|Fluorescent Minerals Glowing: One of the museum’s displays features fluorescent minerals. Notice in the two corresponding photos that one shows a sample of the minerals under normal white light, while the other photo shows the minerals fluorescing under a combined short and long wavelength “black” light.|
|Fluorescent Minerals: Here are the same fluorescent minerals in their natural state.|
|Lake Superior Datolite: Datolite is a mineral in the Silicates group. Like agate, which is in the Oxides group, Datolite forms in veins and cavities in basaltic igneous rocks.|
|Large Quartz Crystal: The large quartz crystal on display at the museum was acquired at a silent auction in Albuquerque. It was quite a challenge to get this specimen, which weighs more than 100 pounds, back home to Grand Marais.|
|LS Agate Candystriper: This incredible Lake Superior agate is not large (around 1/3 of a pound), but it has incredibly intricate candy-stripe banding.|
|Malachite: Malachite has a variety of appearances, but this specimen is magnificent.|
|Mexican Opal: After hiking Yosemite a number of years ago, I stopped at a nearby rock shop. This specimen was on display and was not for sale. However, when I explained that I was opening an agate museum and agreed to prominently display the specimen, the owner decided to sell it.|
|Mica: While spending two winters as an artist in New Mexico, I of course spent a considerable amount of time rockhounding. Some of the mica specimens on display were acquired during these adventures.|
|Michigan Copper: One of the museum’s mineral displays includes copper and other native elements. This specimen was purchased from Richard Whiteman who owns several copper mines in the western U.P. Many of the other specimens in this display were donated by Bob Clark from Ishpeming.|
|Mookaite: Mookaite is another interesting jasper mineral from western Australia. Its variable color is influenced by the ancient seabed sediment that contributed to its formation.|
|Ocean Jasper: Ocean Jasper is another marine-influenced mineral. It is found in northwestern Madagascar.|
|Pyrite: Several specimen of pyrite, commonly known as Fools Gold, are on display.|
|Quartz Family: Macrocrystaline quartz comes in many forms, many of which are included in the Quartz Family display.|
|Tourmaline: Tourmaline is a vertically striated prismatic crystal that often is found in massive formations.|
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Gitche Gumee Museum.
E21739 Brazel Street
Grand Marais, Michigan 49839