The UA Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum
The Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum has set up shop in the Historic Pima County Courthouse. To coincide with the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, the museum had its grand opening on February 3rd. This building is nearly complete with its $30 million restoration, $17,000 of that was crowdsource funding from the Tucson community. The January 8th Memorial stands outside to the West. No detail is spared and it’s a feast for the eyes before you even get into the museum proper.
Once inside you are immediately enrapt with one of the largest quartz crystals you will ever see in person. The museum has 3 main sections that, much like Ikea, if you keep moving, you’ll eventually see everything. The layout is broken up into 3 areas of interest, the Mineral Evolution Gallery, the Arizona Gallery, and the Gem Gallery.
The Mineral Evolution Gallery
This gallery grounds you (pun intended,) in the components that make up our world. Here you’ll find the minerals, meteorites, and fossils responsible for the geoformation of earth. Explore the history as you wander past beautifully designed display cases and molecular models.
The Arizona Gallery
As you may have guessed, this gallery focuses on the vast mineral resources of Arizona and also Mexico. Besides seeing what came out of the ground the gallery walks you through the mining process complete with tools and the historical process.
The Gem Gallery
If you are a fan of shiny jewelry this is the gallery for you. As you walk through, it walks you through the different cuts and classifications of gems. You can play with a spectroscope to determine which minerals are under the magnifying glass. The jewelry room is simply breathtaking, and the grand finale is a tapestry made from cut precious gems.
Before You Go
When you decide that it’s time to check out the Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum here are the basics you need to know.
Address: 115 N Church Avenue
10 am-4 pm, last tickets sold at 3
Admission: $15 Adults (ages 13-64)
$10 Seniors (ages 65+) & Active Military (with I.D.)
$5 Children (ages 4-12) & Arizona College Students (with I.D.)