Univ. of Arizona’s New Gem Museum Opens with ‘Sneak Preview’ Tours
The two-hour immersive experience gives visitors the chance to see all three galleries before the official grand opening early next year.
For a limited time, the Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum, located in the Historic Pima County Courthouse in downtown Tucson, will offer “sneak preview” tours, two-hour immersive experiences guided and narrated by staff and docents.
They will give 20 visitors at a time the chance to see the museum’s three galleries before the official grand opening early next year.
The museum is named for the late Alfie Norville, a co-founder of the Gem and Jewelry Exchange (GJX) trade show that takes place every year in Tucson.
A gift from the Norville family made the relocation and renovation of the mineral museum possible.
Construction started in 2018.
Displaying more than 2,200 specimens, the new museum’s three main galleries and showcases are dedicated to the evolution of minerals, minerals native to Arizona and Mexico, gemstones, jewelry, and gem science.
Notable pieces include a 400-pound malachite specimen from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; a 410-pound silver nugget found outside Globe, Arizona; a 210-pound azurite specimen from the late 1880s; the Wells Fargo Arizona Gold Collection; and a display of gem and mineral art pieces created by local artist Nicolai Medvedev, an award winner and master of the inlay technique called intarsia.
Sneak preview guided tour tickets are available for advance purchase on the museum website.
General admission tickets are expected to be available for purchase before the start of the University of Arizona’s fall semester in August, aligning with a “soft opening” to the public.
The official grand opening event for the museum will occur in 2022, coinciding with the Tucson gem and mineral shows.
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