Friday, December 24, 2004
The mineral museum is visited by area school children.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Seventeen teachers from schools throughout the Mahoning and Shenango valleys visited Youngstown State University this fall and left with a bunch of rocks.
But these weren't your ordinary, run-of-the-mill rocks. There were quartz and calcite and galena and malachite and pyrite.
Shiny rocks. Glow-in-the-dark rocks. Rocks that make you go, "Ooooo ....."
The rock kits, along with instructional materials, were donated by the Clarence R. Smith Mineral Museum in Moser Hall at YSU for teachers to use in their classroom geology courses. "This is a tremendous way for the museum to partner with the schools and share this extraordinary collection of minerals," said Ikram Khawaja, professor emeritus in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.
"YSU is a tremendous asset to our area, and I'm happy to be able to be a part of it," said Clarence R. Smith Jr., who owns Compco Industries and several other businesses in the Mahoning Valley.
Four decades ago
The collection was started more than four decades ago by Smith's father, for whom the museum is named.
The collection now includes thousands of specimens, including many that are so rare that only a few museums own anything comparable, said Charles Singler, YSU geology department chair.
The collection was donated to YSU in 2001, and the university opened the museum. Since then, more than 8,000 visitors have toured the collection, including several groups from local elementary, middle and high schools.
Fraction of collection
Khawaja said the university is only able to display a fraction of the collection.
"Rather than hoarding it and sitting on it ... we decided to get in touch with teachers and see if they could use the materials in their classrooms," he said.
Teachers from schools throughout the region, from Warren to Lisbon, Boardman to West Middlesex, Pa., received the mineral kits.