About Joel

Not only is Joel the President of the Museum, he’s also a curator. He has the rare distinction of having held almost every job here – including security guard, back before his museum career took him to distinguished posts all across the country. At HMNS, he built our outstanding collection of gems and minerals and the world-renowned Wiess Energy Hall before being appointed President in July 2004. Since, he’s brought us Lucy, Leonardo and…check back here for his updates on the next big things coming up.

100 Years – 100 Objects: Silver with Calcite

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.

Silver with CalciteSilver with calcite
Kongsberg, Norway

Any great specimen of native wire silver is a rarity. The 13.2-cm specimen pictured here is particularly desirable because of the calcite crystals entangled in the wires, and especially because of the large and lustrous crystal of black sphalerite clinging to the uppermost wires.

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.

100 Years – 100 Objects: Rhodochrosite

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.

RhodochrositeThis 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.

Rhodochrosite
N’Chwaning Mine, Kuruman, Northern Cape Province, South Africa

The epitome of South African rhodochrosite is represented by gemmy, deep red scalenohedral crystals in solid clusters such as the beautiful 9.5-cm example pictured here. Though not quite as spectacular as the big rhombohedrons from the Sweet Home mine in Colorado, these clusters are highly valued for their deep red color, high transparency, brilliant sparkling luster, sharp crystal form, and large, aesthetic groupings.

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.

100 Years – 100 Objects: Ludlockite

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.

Ludlockite

Ludlockite – Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Namibia

Ludlockite was originally found in a single boulder on the dump of the Tsumeb mine. It was described as a new species in 1972, based on that single occurrence. Subsequently a second, very limited occurrence was found deeper in the mine. Consequently very few specimens of the species are known. This beautiful, reddish-brown, 4-cm spray on zincian siderite crystals is among the finest. 

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.

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.

Copper

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.