TVRGC Annual Picnic: A Non-Member View

by Susan Schmidlin

I want to share a great find that I recently stumbled upon. I received an invitation to learn more about a local club.  I thought to myself, I’m really busy this time of year and I don’t think I have much time to spare. Then I was told that the club was having their annual picnic at the Rice Museum in Hillsboro. Well, I had been there before, and loved it. I could certainly find enough time to investigate this club. A picnic, a beautiful setting and the opportunity to learn something new…how could I refuse? A visit to the Rice Museum alone would make it worth my time so I said yes, I would come.

I have always enjoyed seeing all the displays at the museum, but it has been a couple of years since I have had the opportunity to see the beautiful home that has been turned into a showplace for rocks and minerals from around the world. The Museum has outgrown the huge house and filled a second building as part of the complex. A nature path leading into the woods filled with 100 ft. fir trees adds to the charm of the property and many weddings are held in the picturesque setting.

I told my daughter that I was planning on going to the museum, and she wanted to go too! One of my friends that I meet with on Mondays said she would like to go, as did everyone I talked with.  I ended up taking my daughter and my Monday friend, and left the rest wanting.

We got to the picnic early so we would have time to see the museum. We were enchanted even before we made it inside by the unusual rocks that graced the entry way.

Each large rock drew comments and required photos be taken before we could make it into the museum. My companions had never been to the Rice Museum before and it was fun to watch their faces as we walked from room to room, it was sheer wonderment at the beauty of nature.  There were rocks that were so delicate they looked like spun glass, or as soft as a cloud, and cut rocks that appeared to be complete landscape pictures.

Each room led us to new discoveries, every display held new surprises. My daughter was enthralled with the petrified wood room and even forgot to take pictures; my friend stood with her jaw dropped by the nest of dinosaur eggs fossilized for millennia. I’m sure that I missed some of their expressions because I also was drawn to the vast array of colors.

It was time to attend the picnic, so we pulled ourselves away from the displays much too soon for our tastes. There wasn’t even enough time to see the Rainbow Room, where long wave and shortwave lights show the hidden colors of the minerals.

We made a plan to visit again soon, so we could allow several hours to look through the museum without being rushed.

We learned that all members of the club actually get free admission to the museum whenever they visit!  The Great Find I want to share with you is called Tualatin Valley Rock and Gem Club, and dues are only $10. for single adult or $20. for a family  membership. THAT IS A GREAT DEAL!  This is definitely a club that I will make time for; we had such a good time getting introduced to the members and even met a neighbor that we didn’t know we had.

Be sure to stop by their Facebook Page: Tualatin-Valley-Gem-Club, and hit the like button. Your friends are going to want to know about this.

The club usually meets at the Forest Grove Senior Center, but they also have field trips to nearby rock hot-spots and even camping trips that take them away from the local area to dig for Thunder Eggs, Agates and Petrified Wood. Since I am not a camper, I’m going to be sticking to the local trips; they sound like a lot of fun. I will be anxiously awaiting their return from Eastern Oregon to see what treasures they have uncovered there.

The Tualatin Valley Rock and Gem Club (TVRGC) meets at the Forest Grove Senior Center on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 7:30pm. For more information and a calendar of events, visit their website During the 4th Thursday of each month the club members bring treasures from their own collections to swap, buy or sell. Non-members are welcome to join in, so I hope to see you at the next meeting with your swap-able rocks!


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