Home Local News Flume Takes Rankin Museum Kids’ Events to New Level

Flume Takes Rankin Museum Kids’ Events to New Level

Pictured in the photo from left to right: Julian Carter (Board member), Sen. Tom McInnis, Brett Webb (Board member), and Karen Brewer (Board member)

ELLERBE — Over 100 children and their families flocked to Ellerbe this past Saturday morning to take turns mining for precious gems at the Rankin Museum of American Heritage’s annual Geology Dig.

With annual sponsorship from Rockingham Rotary Club and NC Farm Bureau of Richmond County, the Geology Dig has been held every summer for the past several years; it is designed to teach children ages 5 to 16 about different kinds of gemstones, and is completely free-of-charge.

This year’s event was marked by both record attendance and an exciting renovation: A 14-foot tall mining flume that sends a continuous stream of water down a 50-foot sluice.  Where young gem-hunters were once washing through buckets of mining dirt with water hoses, they now stand along the sides of the sluice with commercial-grade sieves.

“I think I speak for many of our regular patrons and new museum guests when I say that it is incredible to see a structure like this in Ellerbe,” said Brett Webb, President of the Rankin Museum of American Heritage Board of Directors.

“This has been a long-time vision of the Board of Directors and our Curator, and it was extremely rewarding to see the kids’ reactions this morning.”


The flume and sluice structure was made possible by a $25,000 grant from the State of North Carolina, which was received by the museum at the end of 2015.  According to Webb, Senator Tom McInnis was instrumental in making this project happen.

“Senator McInnis knew that we were looking for ways to draw new museum visitors to the Ellerbe area, and also to make our annual Geology and Fossil digs really special for the local youth populations that we serve,” said Webb.  

“The flume system turns this dig into the kind of attraction that would be expensive to attend in other parts of the state or country, but now we have it right here in Ellerbe, for free.”

For more information about the Rankin Museum of American Heritage and annual events like the Geology and Fossil digs, please visit www.rankinmuseum.org or call 910-652-6378.  

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