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University of Richmond Museums opens "Virginia Rocks! Geologic Selections from the Collection"
Kyanite with pyrite, fuchsite, and turgite (and detail), Charlotte County, Virginia, 14 x 11 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches, Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums, Gift of Mr. B. W. Bass, R1977.01.1169

RICHMOND, VA.- The University of Richmond Museums presents Virginia ROCKS! Geologic Selections from the Collection, on view from January 24, 2014, through June 12, 2015, in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature. Including more than forty specimens from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition presents an introduction to geology as it relates to the Commonwealth of Virginia. The exhibition highlights the varied geological areas of the state and the processes that shaped the land. Special focus is placed on the history and future use of Virginia’s mineral and energy resources, and how these resources impact the economy and environment. The exhibition provides visitors with a broad experience of the varied types of minerals found within the Commonwealth.

Objects featured in the exhibition have been selected from the permanent collection of the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums. As the University of Richmond’s natural sciences and decorative arts museum, the Lora Robins Gallery, with its collection of natural objects, cultural art and artifacts, and decorative and fine arts, includes pieces ranging from Jurassic dinosaur fossils to contemporary art. Pre-Columbian vessels, ancient coins, Hindu art, and Oceanic art complement collections of rare gems and minerals, prehistoric shells, coral, and fluorescent rocks. The museum’s collection of rocks and minerals from around the world includes an important focus on geologic specimens from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the region.

The exhibition is divided into the physiographic provinces of Virginia: the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau. There is a strong relationship between the kinds of rocks found in a province and the topography of that province. Specimens featured in the exhibition include kyanite from Buckingham County, micas and feldspars from the world-famous Rutherford Mine in Amelia County, and coal and shale from the Appalachian plateau. Virginia’s caves and iron resources are also highlighted in the exhibition.

Of special interest to K-12 teachers and school children, Virginia ROCKS! illustrates fundamental theories in geology, complementing key geological concepts found in the Virginia Department of Education’s Standards of Learning. Public tours and educational programs will be presented during the run of the exhibition, and there are hands-on activities in the Education Focus Gallery.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition is curated by Matthew Houle, Curator of Museum Collections, University Museums, with assistance by David Kitchen, Associate Dean, Strategic Planning and Summer Programs, School of Professional and Continuing Studies, University of Richmond. The exhibition programming is made possible in part with the support of the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee.

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