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Weinman Mineral Museum
About North Georgia

The Weinman Mineral Museum closed in November 2007 and reopened as the Tellus Science Museum in 2008. This page is for historic purposes only.

Weinman Mineral Museum
Even on the approach to Cartersville’s William Weinman Museum visitors are intrigued by a huge silver-painted chain driven rock tumbler. Weinman pioneered the use of ground marble (calcium carbonate) as a filler initially in rubber, paper and paint. This mill, which he began using in Alabama in 1918, would be filled with ore and water, then rotated and the marble would be ground to a powder. Weinman’s design was later adopted by virtually all manufacturers.

A ground marble finish leads visitors to the entrance of the museum, where we pay the admission. Immediately after, on the left, is a large example of calcite from Marble Hill in Pickens County. Beyond the calcite is a large amethyst geode. These hollow rocks, which are normally lined with crystals, form when bubbles of lava gas in ancient flows are trapped as the molten rock cools. Quartz solutions, turned purple by iron, then line the wall of the bubble with crystals.Intended to educate people about the mineral wealth of Georgia, and the important role of minerals in the development of the state, the museum also houses a large collection of minerals from around the world.

Many of the early settlers in Northwest Georgia were miners. As the Cherokee headed west on a forced march known as the Trail of Tears, these miners began to search for the mineral wealth of the state including gold (Georgia Gold Rush) and marble. A recreation of a miner’s shack told the story of these early miners.

One exhibit the kids will love is a mine inside the museum. Free with admission, the cave explores, through photography, the massive modern machines used to harvest the earth’s minerals and the men who run them. Exhibits also investigate the fluorescent properties of certain minerals. Two buttons, on either side of a display, bathe selected rocks in low band and high band ultraviolet light, enhancing certain color characteristics of the minerals that are invisible to the naked eye. One normal-looking rock turns yellow when illuminated with the light while another rock turns green. When the second button is pushed, one eerie rock turns red and green. The display explains about the “invisible” energy of ultraviolet light. For rock hounds, the display cases included calcite, hemimorphite, zircon, willemite, fluorite, and hyalite opal

Leaving the mine, there is a display of minerals from across the state. Some of the examples from north Georgia include amethyst from Towns County, blue granite from DeKalb County, garnet from Paulding County, and onyx, red jasper, and chert from Floyd County. Each of the selected counties are located on a map. A second map shows examples of quartz, starulite and sharktooth, along with areas where they might be found.

Dinosaurs once roamed earth and many fossils can still be found in the state of Georgia. The William Weinman Mineral Museum’s Fossil Room begins as a journey through the fanciful creations of monsters by Hollywood and Japan. Posters from such classic movies as Godzilla, starring Raymond Burr and The Land That Time Forgot staring Doug McClure line the walls to the entrance of the Fossil Room.

Triceratops fossil at the Weinman Mineral Museum
Once inside, there is a huge replica of a triceratops that serves as centerpiece to the exhibit. Kids are welcome to touch the realistic fossil from the Cretaceous Period. Also featured are fossils from Cenozoic Georgia, when most of the state was formed (55 million to 11,000 years ago). There are excellent examples of a mastodon tooth, an echinoid from the Eocene Period and a fossilized manatee bone. At the front of the triceratops display are two fossils that the kids can touch. Display cases also hold a dinosaur egg, a trilobite and ammonite, a prehistoric sand dollar, petrified wood and an Eocene Period maple leaf.

Return to the main hall to a display explaining how the state of Georgia was formed. 350 million to 1 billion years ago when two continental masses collided and formed the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia. This dynamic geology created igneous and metamorphic rock. When the continents separated 200 million years ago, the process of erosion began to work on the exposed rock, and prehistoric rivers spread it to the south. At one time Georgia’s “Fall Line” was the ancient coast. The display also explains the distinct formation of Georgia’s Lookout Mountain between 280 and 570 million years ago.

In the Frank and Winnifred Mayo Room, which is designed to house special collections, the museum has mineral displays of its own. For example, the birthstones of each month make an interesting display and can introduce kids to the mineral that represents their month. When we visited, the Mayo Wing had an extensive display of Rhodacrocite, a pink rock from the Andes Mountains in Argentina and malachite, a beautiful green mineral from Bisbee, Arizona. Also from Arizona was an immense piece of quartz.

One of the most interesting displays in the museum illustrates how minerals are used in everyday household products. Chalk is an important ingredient in Pepto-Bismal. Marble is ground and used as a calcium supplement in multi-vitamins and Tums. Talc goes into every Bayer Aspirin, there's kaolin in Kaopectate and quartz finds its way into Heinz ketchup and Jif Peanut Butter. The display contains both product packaging and a sample of the mineral the product uses.

Weinman Mineral Museum also has a gift shop that is decidedly rock-oriented, with jewelry, geodes and a chess set made from onyx. On the outside are more rocks including bauxite, jasper, goethite and pyrolusite from which manganese is extracted. Gold and gem panning and fossil digs are available for groups and there is a graveyard of vehicles used in the mining industry.



Weinman Mineral Museum




Directions


Take I-75 to exit 293 (GA 61 / U. S. 411 / Chatsworth Highway). If you are traveling south turn right at the end of the ramp. If you are traveling north, turn left. At 0.2 miles, turn left onto Mineral Museum Drive and follow the road to the museum.

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