University of Arizona Gem & Mineral Museum
University of Arizona Gem & Mineral Museum

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The University of Arizona Mineral Museum is a non-profit organization. The museum occupies the lower level of the Flandrau Science Center and works closely with their department and staff. Funding is provided in part by The University of Arizona and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. Additional support comes from the State of Arizona, local mining companies such as Phelps Dodge, students, alumni and mineral enthusiasts.

The University of Arizona was founded in 1885, and a portion of the mineral collection dates back to 1892 when it was the core of the Territorial Museum. The Mineral Museum was officially recognized in 1919.

Since its conception, the museum has accumulated over 35,000 mineral specimens in the main collection and over 7,000 in the micromount collection. The collection currently represents 1,561 different species with over 2,000 minerals presently on display. The mineral museum also displays meteorites from localities around the world. The collection itself is divided into roughly ten major exhibits, including exhibits of the minerals from Guanajuato, Mexico and famous Arizona localities such as Bisbee, Ajo, Morenci, Ray, and Tiger. The museum includes a micromount exhibit that demonstrates the beauty and diversity of crystals too small to be appreciated with the naked eye.

The Mineral Museum first started conducting tours during the 1950s and continues to do so today. During the university school year (August through May), a guided tour for school groups can be arranged by appointment through Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium.