Carnegie Museum of Natural History Acquires the Bryon Brookmyer Collection of Pennsylvania Minerals
Museum’s collection now most nearly complete and comprehensive of Pennsylvania minerals in the world
Carnegie Museum of Natural History is pleased to announce the acquisition of more than 2,700 mineral specimens from private collector Bryon Brookmyer, making the museum’s collection the premier repository of Pennsylvania minerals in the world. These specimens will aid researchers in the study of Pennsylvania mineralogy, and many will be featured in the museum’s Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems.
All told, the Brookmyer collection consists of 2,705 specimens, 234 of which have been on long-term loan to the museum since 1996. Visitors may be familiar with some of these specimens as the focus of the Pennsylvanian exhibit of Hillman Hall.
“The acquisition of Bryon’s collection is and will be known in the future as a major event in the history of Minerals at the museum,” says Marc Wilson, Collection Manager and Head of the Section of Minerals. “Bryon’s passion for Minerals is evident in his collection and in his history as a careful, yet tenacious, collector. We’re honored that he should agree to have the specimens that are so special to him become part of the Carnegie collection.”
Brookmyer’s collection is the latest in three noteworthy specimen acquisitions that comprise the vast Pennsylvania collection, spanning pieces that were collected from colonial times to the present. Early in the museum’s history, Andrew Carnegie purchased for Pittsburgh the William Jefferis collection of about 12,000 specimens. In 2007, Carnegie Museum of Natural History acquired approximately 5,000 mineral specimens deaccessioned by the Academy of Natural History Sciences of Philadelphia. Together, these two collections held specimens that covered to the 1920s. The Brookmyer collection brings the museum’s holdings up to today.
“This gives Carnegie Museum of Natural History the most nearly complete and comprehensive collection of Pennsylvania mineral specimens in the world. Carnegie Museum is now the destination of choice for anyone wishing to research or learn about Pennsylvania’s rich mineral heritage,” says Wilson.
The Hillman Foundation generously underwrote the acquisition of both the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Brookmyer collections.
Pennsylvania's complex geologic history is reflected in the great variety of minerals found within the state. Nearly 300 mineral species are known from Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania's relatively rugged topography promotes exposure of rocks in naturally eroded cliffs as well as in cuts for roads and railroads, but the most significant mineral specimens have been found as a result of mining and quarrying activities.
The specimens displayed in Hillman Hall represent some of the finest found in Pennsylvania. In addition to the Pennsylvania Minerals & Gems exhibit, there are 2 cases of Pennsylvania minerals on display in Masterpiece Gallery.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of 22 million objects and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. More information is available by calling 412.622.3131 or by visiting the website, www.carnegiemnh.org.