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Mineral Collector Unearths Beauty to Share Springfield Museums

Springfield (MA)The Springfield Museums presents Cut ‘N’ Rough, a collection of cut stone displayed side-by-side with the same stone in its original rough state, ready for all to see in Earth Hall, on the second floor of the Springfield Science Museum. The Cut ‘N’ Rough exhibit is on loan from Fred Wilda and Helen Rodak of Hadley, MA.


“The first stone I cut was a revelation,” said Wilda, a mineral collector, self-taught artist, and passionate spokesperson for geology. “I was amazed to see what the stone had hidden inside it—a piece of art that rivaled masterpieces in museum galleries!”


The large, bright glass case, donated by the Connecticut Valley Mineral Club, is filled with stones whose inner beauty is breathtaking. “Each and every stone has a story,” Wilda said. “And almost every story is connected to other people.”


Wilda and Rodak have met remarkable people as they have embraced the wonder of geology—especially thanks to the connections they have made through the Connecticut Valley Mineral Club, which has a long history with the Springfield Museums. “For eighty years, club members have met at the Museums, with the clear mission of sharing the wonders of minerals, rocks, gems, and geology with as many people as possible,” Wilda said.


In 2010, the club began sharing Significant Minerals of Massachusetts displays with area schools. “After we visited, allowing the kids to touch and talk about the rocks,” Wilda said, “there was a huge upsurge in interest.”


“The Springfield Museums have one of the Significant Minerals of Massachusetts displays, and they wanted to expand the exhibit,” Wilda said, “which the club was pleased to help make happen.” Through donations of specimens and funds, the Connecticut Valley Mineral Club installed a large glass case with special lighting and clear, informative labels to help Museums visitors better understand the remarkable treasures the Connecticut River Valley holds. Among those treasures is margarite, galena, the state mineral babingtonite, and the state gem rhodonite.


A visit to Earth Hall will help bring clarity to those words and also give a better understand why so many people love rocks.


In the meantime, a bit more information about the state gem rhodonite from the handbook that accompanies Significant Rocks and Minerals from Massachusetts: “Named after the Greek word for rose (rhodon), Rhodonite is a silicate mineral that is formed in metamorphic rocks.” There is only one known location in Massachusetts where you can find this gemstone: but if you want an easy look at a beautiful specimen, visit the Springfield Museums!


About The Connecticut Valley Mineral Club


The Connecticut Valley Mineral Club has been active since 1940. The club is diverse—with members ranging from amateur collectors to mineralogists and professors of geology. The group promotes geology, mineralogy, the lapidary arts, paleontology, and educational programs for elementary school-age children. The club is not meeting due to COVID-19, but usually meets monthly from September through June at the Springfield Science Museum., One Admission/Five Museums,

including the one and only Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

Parking is always FREE


About The Springfield Museums


THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated consortium of museums includes the Springfield Science Museum, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, and the Amazing World of Dr. SeussMuseum, the first and only museum dedicated to the beloved children’s book author and Springfield native.



Tuesday-Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm

Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm


New Protocols include

  • Masks required
  • Social distancing required
  • Limited numbers and timed tickets


The Museum Store

Museum Store will allow 10 visitors at a time. Visitors can also reserve time to shop. Please call ahead for reservations 1-413-263-6800, ext 362.


For More Information:

Karen Fisk, Director of Marketing and Communication Strategy

413-263-6800, ext. 459