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University of Arizona mineralogy museum receives $1.6M endowment collection

The University of Arizona’s Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum has received a massive collection of mineral specimens, along with a $1.6 million dollar commitment to establish an endowment for conservation and education.

The gifts come from the family of Arthur Roe, a former Tucson resident who was an avid collector, author and lecturer on minerals.

The donation includes nearly 10,000 micromounts — tiny mineral specimens that are viewed under microscopes.

Violetta Wolf is the museum director.

“This collection will help us impart that excitement of discovery, of working with microscopes and just being comfortable with, you know, that technology and those tools,” she said.

She also says the donation includes specimens from areas where minerals can no longer be collected.

“So the research possible with this is that these are, many minerals are sometimes first discovered in micromounts. But also it's a wonderful opportunity to look at these localities that no longer exist and reference all of the mineralogy,” she said.

Wolf says the museum is thankful for a gift that can be shared with the public, and says the endowment will help develop educational programming and maintain the collection.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.