By Andy Thompson, MSDC Secretary
President Ken Reynolds gave a special welcome to everyone noting this was the first MSDC gathering since the summer break after our June meeting. Like most mineral clubs, our members take advantage of the fair weather and focus on field collecting trips. He shared that over the summer he enjoyed his own strong interest in visiting the Franklin/Sterling Hill mining areas of NJ, the world’s fluorescent mineral capital.
Readers wanting more information could visit the following websites to learn about the area’s resources and upcoming events.
– For information on the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, see: https://www.sterlinghillminingmuseum.org/special-events.
– For the Franklin mineral and mining museum, see: https://franklinmineralmuseum.orghttps://newjerseyisntboring.com/sterling-hill.
– For skeptics, see: New Jersey Isn't Boring - (newjerseyisntboring.com).
Ken thanked the three-attending former MSDC presidents for their service to the club.
Cindy Schmidtlein shared the good news that our upcoming monthly programs includes a presentation on October 5 by Patrick Rowe whose topic will be "Silver, Born of Cataclysmic Events and Brought to us by Improbable Happenings." And for November 2, Tim Rose, the club's sponsor linking us with the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, will share his research on the rodingite of Hunting Hill, Maryland, a serpentinite quarry in Montgomery County. Tim is Manager of the Analytical Laboratories within the museum’s Department of Mineral Sciences.
More information on upcoming programs is provided elsewhere in this newsletter. If you have suggestions for topics or presenters, Cindy would welcome hearing from you.
John Weidner shared the good news that MSDC now has 46 paid members which is a significant increase over prior years before Covid and prior to our Zoom meetings which now reach a wider audience.
An Important Word from Our Sponsor on MSDC’s Future In-Person and Hybrid Meetings
Tim Rose, our sponsor linking us with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, provided a context for helping us understand what is happening within the NMNH museum.
With the arrival of Covid in the Spring of 2020, the NMNH was initially closed to the public. During that time, the scientists and other staff had either no access to their offices and labs or only intermittent access. The security officers who normally worked there also were not able to do so. As a result, many retired, were reassigned, or resigned. Tim said that is why the museum has suffered from a shortage of security officers and janitorial staff available to meet the demands of after-hours events, such as MSDC’s evening monthly club meetings.
So, although the museum is open to the public during the day, most routine monthly evening programs have necessarily been curtailed. Some events do occur, such as when organizations rent museum space for catered dinners and events. But due to the museum being short staffed, event sponsors now usually cover the janitorial and security expenses of those after-hours programs. Because Covid continues to be a threat to the health of all involved, masks are required to be worn at those events.
The bottom line, Tim suggested, is that MSDC should plan on continuing with Zoom meetings into the future. When in-person club meetings do resume, Tim advised that we should consider having hybrid meetings to allow attendance both in person and from remote locations. Follow-up discussion indicated Tim’s recommendation met with widespread acceptance and assurances that this technically should not be hard to manage.
Old and New Business
Participants raised no issues needing discussion for either of these two areas. Ken then called for and received a unanimous vote to close the business meeting and turned the program over to Cindy to introduce the evening’s presenter.