Rice Northwest Museum Becomes Smithsonian Affiliate

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals main building.We’re proud to announce that one of our long-time partners and affiliates, the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro, Oregon, has been awarded an affiliation with the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research center located in Washington, D.C., with affiliates and branches around the country.

According to the news article on Oregon Live, this is the second museum in Oregon to receive such an honor.

According to the release, museum co-founder Sharleen Harvey related that her parents, Richard and Helen Rice, “had great respect for the Smithsonian Institution and used their collections as a high standard for quality and beauty when building the Rice Museum collection. I believe the acceptance of the Rice Museum as a Smithsonian Affiliate signifies that they achieved their goal.”

Harvey goes on to say that the affiliation “confirms that [the Rice Museum] meets the high standards required to assist our schools and community in earth science education. It assures that visitors and supporters of the museum can have confidence in the quality and content of the exhibits, plus enjoyment in viewing fine minerals, fossils, meteorites and lapidary specimens.”

Speaking for the Smithsonian, Harold A. Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations, is quoted as saying, “The museum has a well-deserved reputation for engaging generations in earth sciences through its scholarship, exhibitions, and education programs. Our partnership offers the opportunity to underscore the importance of science as a source of inspiration in our daily lives and in the years ahead.”

The new Executive Director, Julian Gray, is a member of the Tualatin Valley Rock and Gem Club, and he was the driving force behind this affiliation. He will be working closely with the Smithsonian to coordinate educational opportunities and exhibits in the future.

In another news report announced in the Portland Tribune, a representative of the Smithsonian describes the new affiliation.

Harold Closer, director of the Smithsonian Affiliations program, noted that Rice Museum’s collection of rocks and minerals is considered among the best in the world.

“The museum has a well-deserved reputation for engaging generations in earth sciences through its scholarship, exhibitions and education programs,” Closter said. “Our partnership offers the opportunity to underscore the importance of science as a source of inspiration in our daily lives and in the years ahead.”

…The new partnership between Rice and the Smithsonian will bring specimens and exhibits from the Smithsonian; provide opportunities to work with scientists on research projects and exhibitions; and sponsor a series of educational lectures and programs.

“It’s a very big deal in the industry,” said Diane Dennis, spokeswoman for Rice Museum. “It’s more visibility and will attract more visitors.”

“It’s a big feather in the whole community’s cap,” Gray added. “To be affiliated with the Smithsonian says a lot for the community support we’ve enjoyed for decades, and being rewarded with this prestigious affiliation brings awareness of our museum to a broader area and will bring more tourism into the area.”

Congrats to the Executive Director Julian Gray and the Curator Leslie Moclock, and to all of us in Washington County.

As part of your membership benefits with the club, member admission to the museum is free.

The Tualatin Valley Rock and Gem Club, along with other area clubs and rock and mineral exhibitors and vendors, hold many events at the museum, and participate in the annual museum events such as Summerfest.

If you haven’t been to the museum in a while, stop in and see the changes Julian and the new Curator, Leslie Moclock, have brought to this heritage site and exceptional museum.

For the historians in our club, don’t forget that the founders of the Rice Northwest Museum, Richard and Helen Rice, founded the Tualatin Valley Rock and Gem Club as well.

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