I spent all winter and early spring writing my eighth book: Rocks Inside Out. This was an intense project that required all of my time, thus, other tasks fell off the “to-do” list. I am finally able to make time to implement a web page update since finishing the book, opening the museum for the season, and completing custom mineral art orders.

As for the book, I am very excited about it. For at least ten years I have wanted to write a rock identification book. Most, if not all, of the rock identification books currently on the market, are too comprehensive, overly jargonistic, and not easy to use. After more than two decades of operating the Gitche Gumee Museum, it is clear that people want a book that can be easily used to identify their rock treasures. Rather than try to include ALL rocks, the new book features 42 rock varieties, including some associated minerals. Almost 750 images help readers identify their finds. In addition, the 250 pages are color-coded: white background – general information; pink background – geologic background; blue background – specimen identification tips; green background – additional photos of the specimens. The chapters are Source of Minerals, Intrusive Igneous Rocks; Extrusive Igneous Rocks; Sedimentary Rocks; and Metamorphic Rocks. An appendix is also included with additional information. The Source of Minerals chapter tells the story about how the number of minerals on Earth increased from the original 60 to the current number of over 5,000. The book is at the printer right now but will be shipped by the third week of July. Once it is available, it will be for sale at the Gitche Gumee Museum, at the Bean Machine gift shop next to the museum, on this webpage (click on the gift shop link), and at a few other retail locations. At this point, my books are no longer being sold on Amazon (as a protest to their high fees and other policies).

Work on the new Agatelady Rock Shop continues but is delayed a year. It took many months to locate a contractor to remodel the outbuilding next to my house that will become the rock shop. Although I am very happy to have found a contractor, he cannot start on the project until next spring. That might be a good thing given the price of lumber right now. As a result, the Gitche Gumee Museum will still be open in 2022 with the new reduced-hour schedule. The Agatelady Rock Shop (located two miles from downtown Grand Marais MI) will open the first Thursday in June 2023. A photo of the 20 x 24-foot outbuilding that will become the rock shop is below.

The reduced hours for the museum (see hours listing below) have worked out well for me in that I now have time to get things done without having to work 70-80 hours per week. Given that I am in my mid-60s, I can no longer work the long hours. I realize people got used to the museum being open seven days a week and are disappointed when they show up and find the museum closed. If you plan on traveling to Grand Marais and would like to set up a private appointment for days and times the museum is not open to the general public, please email me in advance at karen@agatelady.com. Keep in mind that a $25 purchase is required per group of five people or fewer people for all private appointments. For larger groups, please request a minimum purchase quote. The advantage of a private appointment is that you can visit the museum in a less crowded environment. Sometimes I do schedule separate groups to share the time slot. If others stop by when they see the museum lights on, each group must comply with the $25 minimum purchase requirement. The other advantage is that private groups get to see some of my favorite rocks and minerals. Note that I am not always available for private appointments, especially if you do not contact me in advance.

One more policy continuing this summer is that I am still REQUIRING masks to be worn inside the Gitche Gumee Museum. There is no way I can tell for sure who has been vaccinated and who has not. Feedback from the vast majority of museum visitors this summer is that they support the mask mandate given the tight spaces inside both the gift shop and museum rooms. Many people have said they would not come into the museum if I did not require masks. I do have masks for sale ($1.00 each) for those individuals who do not have any with them.

Another bit of good news is that we are holding the September rock show in Grand Marais this year after we were forced to cancel it last year due to Covid 19 restrictions. We have changed the name of the show to Grand Marais Rock and Mineral Show. In 2019, some people arrived expecting the event to be a rock music festival. The show will take place on September 11-12th. There will be inside booths, outside booths, food trucks, silent auctions, and a keynote speaker/dinner on Saturday night. The Grand Marais Women’s Club is conducting the dinner. This year the number of dinner tickets ($17 each) will be limited to 80 people. Dinner tickets can be purchased in advance at GrandMaraisRockandMineralShow.com. The dinner this year will feature salad, lasagna (either meat or vegetarian), desserts, and beverages. If you have any questions about the show, or if you are interested in renting space to be a rock and mineral dealer, please send an email to GrandMaraisRockShow@gmail.com.

Happy rockhounding!
Karen Brzys

Gitche Gumee Museum
E21739 Brazel Street, PO Box 308
Grand Marais, MI 49839

  • BLOG:
  • Home and Art Studio Number
  • Museum (do not maintain this phone during the winter months)
  • (Cell phone — not always turned on. I use it only when I travel.)

Gitche Gumee Museum Hours

To allow the museum owner to have more time to write books, beginning in 2021 and continuing in future years the number of hours the museum will be open is being reduced.


  • Thursday 2-5 pm
  • Friday 2-5 pm
  • Saturday 2-5 pm


  • Thursday 2-5 pm
  • Friday 2-5 pm
  • Saturday 2-5 pm


  • Thursday 2-5 pm
  • Friday 2-5 pm
  • Saturday 2-5 pm

Private Appointments: If you would like to set up a private appointment for other days and times, please email me at Karen@agatelady.com, or call 906-494-2590. It is best to set up appointments in advance in case I am busy or out of town. Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the day appointments are not available. I try to accommodate impromptu appointments, but this is not always possible. For private appointments, I require a donation or purchase of at least $25 per group of five people or less. For larger groups, please request a quote for the minimum purchase requirement amount.

Art and Mineral Show and Agate Talk Schedule

I have decided to retire from exhibiting at rock and mineral shows. I will be the Keynote Speaker at the Grand Marais Rock and Mineral Show on September 11, 2021. Only those people purchasing dinner tickets ($17 per person) will be allowed into the community center for the talk. Dinner/speech tickets can be purchased in advance at GrandMaraisRockandMineralShow.com.

July 2021 Update

History’s Gem of the Month

Grand Marais, MI Outer, and Inner Range lighthouses

Gitchee Gumee Gatherings

Information about
scheduling private, in-home private art shows

Rock Hounding and Adventure Trips

South Dakota Rockhounding Trip, October 2020


New testimonial from Rockhounding/Agate Class participants