When you think of mining, perhaps Pennsylvania coal, Nevada Silver, or California gold comes to mind, but probably not Baltimore. Maybe it should. Baltimore City and surrounding area were dotted with quarries mining any number of minerals and rocks.

Each specimen in the Natural History Society of Maryland tells a story. The mineral specimens tell the story of exploding stars, planetary formation, tectonic plates, as well as industry, technology, innovation and the building of a city.

Early curators of geology and minerals for the Natural History Society of Maryland, Charles Ostrander and/or Walter Price amassed an impressive collection of Baltimore minerals which formed the foundation of the publication they co-authored in 1940, The Minerals of Maryland, which remains a sentinel resource. Many of the specimens were collected from quarries that operated within the city limits in the 1800’s. These quarries have long been shuttered and developed over. The specimens in the NHSM collection represent some of the only examples of the geologic history of Baltimore.

In his presentation, Dr. Alan Pribula, retired professor of chemistry at Towson University, vice president of the Baltimore Mineral Society, and the current curator of minerals for the NHSM will focus on these historic, impossible-to-replace specimens and will give an update as to the present holdings of the NHSM collection. Special pieces from the collection will be on display and available for handling. Have a rock of your own that you would like to learn more about, bring it to the event, and let NHSM experts take a look and offer an opinion or two.

If you dig rocks – come geek out with other rockhounds at the Natural History Society of Maryland. There will also be cake! It is a birthday celebration. 94 years young.

The program is free for NHSM members and $7 for each non-member. For planning purposes, we ask that you RSVP at https://www.marylandnature.org/get-involved/events/event/founders-day-2023-the-maestro-of-minerals-charles-ostrander/

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Founded in 1929, the Natural History Society of Maryland (NHSM)  is an inclusive hub for scientific research and discovery, a proving ground for the next generation of naturalists, and a playground for all who are driven by curiosity We have a small museum that houses our collections that tell the 4 Billion year history of Maryland,  in OVerlea, Maryland on the Baltimore County/City border.

While the history of the Society may stretch back many decades, its rebirth in Overlea is very recent, and its future is very bright indeed. The Natural History Society of Maryland (NHSM) has developed a suite of programs for young and old and for those whose passion is nature and who are passionate about nature. There is something for everyone at NHSM – workshops, speaker series, field trips, festivals, classes, and demonstrations. And for those who have a very specific interest, NHSM is home to four clubs that meet monthly: The Lepidoptera Club (moths and butterflies), The Herp Club (amphibians and reptiles), The Fossil Club, and The Archaeology Club. You can learn more about us and what we do at www.marylandnature.org. We are also on Facebook and Instagram.