Gem & Mineral Museum is getting closer to opening
University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum is one more step towards openness, with the construction and renovation of its space at the historic Pima County Courthouse in downtown Tucson, now complete.
The new 12,000 square foot facility will feature more than 2,200 gems and minerals from collections held by the University of Arizona and loan partners. The three main galleries and the new showcases of the museum will focus on the evolution of the minerals, minerals from Arizona and Mexico, gemstones, jewelry, and gemstone science. Visitors of all ages will be able to participate in hands-on and interactive activities.
“The vision to create a world-class gem and mineral museum in the heart of Tucson has taken a significant step forward. Construction of the exhibit is complete, and we are in the final stages of filling all exhibits and look forward to welcoming the public when it is safe to do so, ”said Eric Fritz, director of the museum.
With the construction and renovation completed, museum staff are now working on the exhibits and presentations. While an opening date for the museum has not yet been determined, UArizona is working closely with Pima County to be able to safely open to the public this year.
The museum also worked with the University of Arizona Foundation to raise funds to cover opening costs. A crowdfunding campaign is online until February 23 and has already hit an initial goal of $ 5,000 in week one. The total campaign goal is $ 10,000. Any additional funds raised beyond that will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $ 5,000, by an anonymous donor at the end of the campaign. To date, the campaign has raised $ 7,059 of its goal of $ 10,000.
The Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum is named after the late Alfie Norville, co-founder of the Gem and Jewelry Exchange which takes place during the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. An initial donation from the Norville family enabled the renovation and relocation of the Minerals Museum from the UArizona campus to downtown Tucson.
Construction on the museum began in 2018. Tucson-based architectural firm Post Mirto McDonald and Lloyd Construction worked together on the construction of the project. Design and Production Inc. provided project management, manufacturing and installation services, as well as technology services. Ralph Applebaum Associates led the interior design and planning of the museum, including the cabinet layout, lighting, text panels and graphics.