As might be expected, this museum has lots of rocks. Probably more rocks than I've ever seen in one place. Except maybe my backyard. We're talking shelves and shelves of rocks, all nicely displayed and labeled in glass cases. I had no idea there were so many varieties of quartz. Even amethyst is a type of quartz. Who knew? I'll include pictures of some of the nicer rocks below. Words really can't do them justice.
The sheer volume of minerals on display was great, but the centerpiece of the museum's collection has got to be the dinner table, featuring all manner of "foods" that, upon closer inspection, turn out to be, you guessed it--rocks! There's steak surrounded by a variety of veggies. A rock hamburger with rock ketchup and rock relish. Rock pies, rock fruits, rock bacon, and even, um, a rock pumpernickel roll?
Borax and horse stall refresher...
Asbestos and telephones...
And... denim hats?
You know what else is made of minerals? Fossils! Like the fossils that might one day be formed by these dinosaurs.
At this point, you might be thinking, "I really like rocks. And who could live without all the great stuff made from rocks? But don't most rocks live underground? How did they get all the way up to the surface?" The answer: mining. Specifically, mining companies. Now, you may have heard rumors about mining companies doing harmful things to the environment or being bad to their workers, but the guys in hard hats on the museum's videos will tell a different story--look, we're blowing stuff up! And check out all these denim hats!
One other important lesson from this museum tour: Rose Mofford, Arizona's 18th governor, was batshit crazy. How else can you explain all the crap she collected over the years, now lovingly displayed in the museum's Rose Mofford Gallery? A turquoise fiddle. Mother Teresa's microphone. A Pope crossing sign. And a truckstop-load of general Southwestern kitsch.
So I guess there's one final important lesson to be learned at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum: our current batshit crazy governor is simply carrying on a proud tradition. And that may be the most important lesson of all...
(As promised, here's a selection of photos of really cool rocks. And if you're interested in learning more about some sort of mysterious political intrigue going on behind the scenes at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, check out this blog.)