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Six minerals from the Desert Museum's collection

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November, 2014


There are many positive, comforting phrases containing the word home — "Home, Sweet Home," "Home is where the heart is," and "There's no place like home." During my 28 years working there I considered the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum my home away from home. I came to the Desert Museum's Stephen House Congdon Earth Sciences Center just after the cave exhibit opened in 1977. I interpreted speleology, karst, and regional geology to Desert Museum visitors. I envied the docents who knew so much more about the Sonoran Desert than I did, but that made me all the more determined to put my all into interpreting the Desert Museum's earth science collections and exhibits.

When I wasn't delivering on-grounds interpretive programs, I assisted Dr. Arthur Roe in cataloguing and maintaining the Desert Museum's permanent mineral collection. Arthur was an incredible teacher. He taught me the proper handling of priceless, one-of-a-kind mineral specimens. He showed me the intricacies of displaying minerals both on and off Desert Museum grounds. He instilled in me such an appreciation for these inanimate, inorganic, and naturally-occurring objets d'art. Arthur made me feel at-home every time I entered the Earth Sciences Department and allowed me access to the Desert Museum's mineral vault.

Graphic of mining tools

{ DID YOU KNOW that the Desert Museum's permanent mineral collection is more than 30 years old and in excess of 16,500 specimens? }

Since those early years, the mineral collection has grown from 200 specimens to one that is now in excess of 16,500 specimens. The Desert Museum's mineral collection is one of the finest regional collections in the world. While many minerals are display-quality and destined for exhibition, many are also important for research. Scientists from as far away as Australia and England have used the Desert Museum's mineral collection in their own research.

The Museum staff continues to collect mineral specimens, actively searching for Arizonatype minerals - those first discovered and described within our state, and minerals of the Sonoran Desert region. The extensive micro mineral collection is used to compare crystal and form variations of specific mineral species. Additionally, it is used to study mineral suites from specific locations. We have displayed minerals from Arizona, the Baja Peninsula, and Sonora from coast-to-coast — Pasadena to New York City and as far away as Australia. Today the Desert Museum's minerals are displayed at the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Arizona Historical Society, JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, and Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. What a credit to the Desert Museum, that our mineral collection is in such demand!

I retired from the Desert Museum in 2005 and was the first woman honored with an emeritus appointment. Today, I remain deeply rooted to the Desert Museum and maintain an office, an email address, and enjoy unfettered access to the permanent mineral collection. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum continues to be my home.

How about you? Have you ever felt so passionate about a place that you would call it home? Join me in celebrating and supporting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Visit often. Volunteer. Contribute to this year's annual giving campaign, and help to make this place feel like home to everyone who visits this remarkable place.

Yours truly,

Anna's Signature

Anna Domitrovic
Curator Emeritus, Mineralogy


For additional information contact Camille Pons, Development Officer, 520/883-3055,
Photography Credits · Printable Version