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  6. Minerals shine in new travelling exhibition from the Canadian Museum of Nature

Minerals shine in new travelling exhibition from the Canadian Museum of Nature

Dan Boivin © Canadian Museum of Nature

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View of the Minerals exhibition.

Ottawa, February 9, 2014—The surprising diversity of minerals and their applications in everyday life are reflected in a new travelling exhibition about earth’s natural treasures produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Minerals is on view at the museum until April 6, 2015, after which it will begin its national tour. The show includes about 90 stunning specimens—varying in size, shape and colour—drawn from the museum’s national mineral collection. The colourful exhibition is presented by Barrick Gold Corporation, with support from The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

“This is the latest in our roster of travelling exhibitions, which have been sharing inspiring stories about Canada’s natural history for 41 years,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “We are grateful for the support of our partners that has allowed us to develop this national project.”

Visitors are guided through a mostly hidden world of delicate shapes, vibrant colours, and odd forms. The minerals are clustered in cases according to themes that explain where minerals come from, their variations in form and function, the science of studying them, and their common or unusual uses.

Some, such as Eudialyte, contain rare-earth elements. These minerals are essential for the operation of high-tech gadgets from cell phones to wind-powered generators. Others, such as a fist-sized egg-shaped pryrite specimen, reveal the simple beauty of these treasures.  

“Minerals and mining are cornerstones of Canada's history and fundamental to our economy,” says Peter Sinclair, Barrick’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs. “This exhibition is a unique opportunity for visitors to see some of the earth's treasures up close. Barrick is pleased to support the museum and this travelling exhibition so that Canadians can learn about the practical uses of minerals and how they permeate everyday life.”

In addition to specimens, there are interactive elements to enrich the learning experience: a display from the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame that presents the people behind the country’s mineral and mining discoveries; a quiz that tests knowledge of commercial uses of minerals; a magnifier to view the intricate structure of crystals; and a discovery box that reveals splashy neon colours when minerals fluoresce under ultraviolet light.   

“The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame is very pleased to lend its support to this travelling exhibition,” says Patricia Dillon, the Hall’s chair. “As the exhibition tours the country, we look forward to visitors learning about the 167 men and women inducted into the Hall who have helped build Canada’s mining industry into a global institution.”

The 60 m2 exhibition is presented in modules, so that it can be shipped and adapted to exhibit spaces in other museums, science centres, and other educational sites across Canada. The first venue on its national tour will be the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory in Ontario, where it will be shown from May to September 2015.

Entry to Minerals at the Canadian Museum of Nature is included with general admission. The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod St. Follow the museum on Twitter (@museumofnature) or Facebook.

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About the Travelling Exhibitions Programme
Since 1973, with its first national travelling exhibition called Canadian Nature Art, the Canadian Museum of Nature has produced and toured more than 60 diverse shows across Canada and internationally. Millions of Canadians in every province and territory—from St. John’s to Vancouver, Iqaluit to Pointe Pelee—have encountered these expertly created exhibitions about the natural world. For more information, contact Rachel Gervais, rgervais@mus-nature.ca; 613-566-4211.

About the Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 10.5 million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.

Information for media, including photos:
Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-566-4781; 613-698-9253 (cell)
dsmythe@mus-nature.ca