The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto has opened the doors to its Earth’s Treasures exhibit located in the Teck Suite of Galleries, sponsored by Teck (TCK. B-T, TCK-N).
Tucked in a corner of the ROM on the second floor in the Weston Family Wing, the Teck Suite of Galleries houses three separate exhibit areas: the Vale Inco Limited Gallery of Minerals (sponsored by Vale [RIO-N] subsidiary Vale Inco), the Gallery of Gems and Gold, and the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame gallery.
In total, the galleries take up 6,900 sq. ft. and showcase over 2,300 minerals — only a portion of the museum’s massive collection, noted ROM director and CEO William Thorsell during a media preview in December.
The exhibit brings together a collection of both common and obscure minerals, rocks, meteorites and gems, in simple, glass-framed casing adorned with sparkling lights.
The rocks sit like fish in a fishbowl, patiently waiting to be examined in all their peculiarity. There’s the alien-like Millerite sample, found in Virginatown, Ont., with its ivory base and coarse grey hair-like crystals. Or the orange crabcoloured coral reef-shaped Serandite, found at a quarry in Mont Saint- Hilaire, Que.
Coupled with each display is a touch-screen computer, letting visitors learn about the origins of the rocks or take a closer look at the minerals through a zoom-in feature.
Kim Tait, associate curator of mineralogy for the ROM, says the 42 computer kiosks dotting the exhibit enhance the learning experience.
“The complex ‘recipes’ that make up gems and minerals are broken down and explained,” Tait said during the opening.
Taking a stroll through the suites, one can’t help but gain a better feel for the diverse minerals found in Canada and the world’s geological makeup.
In the front corner of the Vale Inco gallery, the museum’s extensive meteorite collection (one third of the world’s known lunar and Martian meteorite specimens) is displayed.
The collection, which showcases more than 100 specimens, includes the 9.6-kg NWA 5000 meteorite, the largest lunar meteorite ever to go on display.
“This lunar meteorite is larger than any moon rock brought back by the NASA Apollo mission,” said Tait in a press release.
In the southeast corner of the Vale Inco gallery, stands a display dedicated to the plethora of colours minerals come in, from Kool-Aid orange to lime green.
In the back room, the Gallery of Gems and Gold, gems from the collection of Apple Computers’ first president, Michael Scott, are arranged.
The exhibit, aptly named Light & Stone examines how the combination of the two creates the allure of gemstones. Among the 200 pieces are Repose, a 9,000-carat carved quartz sculpture of a young man with 18-karat gold draped across his lap like fabric and the Pigeon Blood Red ring, a 10.07-carat ruby and diamond ring named for the ruby’s deep crimson colour.
The gem exhibit also features a variety of gem butterflies, from an antique diamond and ruby pin to a grass-green demantoid garnet butterfly made up of 330 garnets and 472 diamonds.
In the southwest corner stands a 15 by 6-ft. video wall that functions as the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame gallery. Controlled by two interactive kiosks, the screen is divided into two parts with the left side featuring bios and personal stories of the Hall of Fame’s 140 members and the right side showing a variety of presentations on the role of mining in Canada’s identity.
The Teck Suite of Galleries will be available to the public indefinitely and the Light & Stone exhibit will be on display until Nov. 15, 2009.