100 Years – 100 Objects: Copper

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1909 – meaning that the curators of the Houston Museum of Natural Science have been collecting and preserving natural and cultural treasures for a hundred years now. For this yearlong series, our current curators have chosen one hundred exceptional objects from the Museum’s immense storehouse of specimens and artifacts—one for each year of our history. Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind-the-scenes curiosities—we will post the image and description of a new object every few days.

This description is from Joel, the Museum’s President and Curator of Gems and Minerals. He’s chosen spectacular objects from the Museum’s mineralogy collection, which includes some of the most rare and fascinating mineral specimens in the world, that we’ll be sharing here – and at 100.hmns.org– throughout the year.


Keweenaw Peninsula, Houghton County, Michigan

Large clusters of free-growing, blocky copper crystals like this 18.4-cm specimen are extremely rare. This piece appears to be from the same mine as a superb 13-cm specimen known to have come form the collection of B. S. Butler who (with W. S. Burbank) wrote the classic work on the copper deposits of Michigan in 1929. As with many such early specimens, the specific mine name was lost or not recorded. Nevertheless, this is one of the finest copper specimens known from Michigan.

Marvel at the world’s most spectacular collection of natural mineral crystals in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the 100 Objects section at 100.hmns.org.

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