The Bethel Planning Board voted to approve the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum site plans to construct the new museum in two adjacent buildings on Main Street in Bethel on June 30, 2012. The former Odd Fellows Hall and 103 Main Street will be joined by historically sensitive new construction to create a 3-story museum building. Architect, James Reuter of Smith Reuter Lull Architects of Lewiston and Bethel in presented the plans.
“I’m very excited about the Museum. The plans look wonderful and the new building fits in well with its New England Main Street feel. It’s going to be a wonderful attraction for the town,” said Ruth Grover, owner of Ruthie’s Boutique and Bethel Village Motel.
Museum building plans show two floors of exhibit halls, the museum store, a multi-purpose lecture and classroom space, the archive & library, offices, and support facilities. Supporting the MMGM presentation were Trustee Stephen Seames; and Jim Mann, Maggie Kroenke and Roberta Hunt of Mt. Mann Jewelers.
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum will open to the public in summer 2013 on Main Street in Bethel, with exciting and eye-catching exhibitions to be created by Paulus Design Group of Washington, DC and Bath, ME, archival and research facilities, an extensive Museum store, and educational programs for children and adults. A future membership organization, fundraising, and an entrepreneurial business plan will help insure the Museum’s future.
The astounding MMGM collection numbers thousands of outstanding and rare rocks, minerals, gems, and meteorite specimens, as well as rare books, maps and mining ephemera. The collection has been assembled by Dr. Lawrence T.P. Stifler and Mary McFadden, Esq., long-time residents of Brookline, MA and Albany Township, ME. Their interest in mineralogy was heightened with the 2005 purchase of the Bumpus Mine, which produced some of the world’s largest beryl crystals in the mid 20th C. , some acquired by the American Museum of Natural History. Educational tours of the Bumpus Mine are available seasonally to school groups. Dr. Stifler and Ms. McFadden are active nationally in land and water conservation, and locally with the Mahoosuc Land Trust, Maine Conservation Camp and other regional non-profit organizations.
Exceptional tourmaline, including the famous watermelon variety from Newry and amethyst, aquamarine, and morganite, along with rose and smoky quartz, continue to be found in Maine, with the major gem deposits in Oxford County. Since the 18th century, Maine has been a source of granite, limestone, feldspar, mica, crushed stone, sand and gravel with even gold, silver and copper found in small quantities.
For more information, contact: Barbra Barrett of Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, Bethel, ME at 207-824-3036, or email@example.com.