DIAMONDS & DINOS
Make a date for the new exhibition at The Perot
If you steer clear of the local science museum for fear of hordes of fifth-grade field-trippers, it’s time to reconsider. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science (ranked as a top cultural attraction in DFW and rated three-star in the Michelin Green Guide) has a new exhibition that’s not to be missed. And, while it’s true that on weekday mornings the museum crowd skews school age, by 1:30 p.m. or so, the kids have cleared out and the coast is clear for peaceful viewing. There are even adult-only events several times a year, such as quarterly “Social Science” cocktail nights (quick sell-outs).
Along with hosting extraordinary exhibits on dinosaurs, the human body, and the origin of humanity, the museum just unveiled a redesign of the Lyda Hill Gems and Mineral Hall, which features world class specimens of crystals and precious stones. There’s a promise of more to come, plus an initiative launching a mineral educational program aimed to put The Perot in the international spotlight.
Perhaps because of its large concentration of geophysicists, North Texas is home to some of the world’s top gem and mineral collectors. Led by philanthropist Lyda Hill, a group has come together to share their treasures for public display. The array includes tourmaline, aquamarine, garnet, opal, quartz, and more. Exhibits in the Hall include a stunning collection of birthstone gems in both rough and faceted forms, and gems set in exquisite jewelry.
Hill has been fascinated by pretty rocks since her childhood days collecting pebbles in Colorado streams. Motivated by a love of nature and ecological concerns, she took up serious acquisition of minerals about 10 years ago. “This is nature’s art,” she says. “We need people to appreciate nature. Something like 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities within the next few years. If people don’t learn about and appreciate nature, they won’t take care of the environment.”
Hill was was instrumental in bringing on board dozens of like-minded collectors to lend their prized specimens on a rotating basis. And, of course, she’s lent a few of her most prized acquisitions. The Eyes of Africa, her stunning “alien eye” fluorite and quartz specimen from Namibia, is a signature exhibit of the Hall. —Valerie Jarvie