Friday, 31 May 2019 16:48

Ellerbe's Rankin Museum begins registration for annual Geology Dig

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Rankin Museum Director Emilie Cobb shows how to mine for gemstones in the flume. The museum will host a geology dig June 15. Rankin Museum Director Emilie Cobb shows how to mine for gemstones in the flume. The museum will host a geology dig June 15. Matt Harrelson - Richmond Observer

ELLERBE — With summer break starting in June for Richmond County students, the Rankin Museum of American Heritage is giving kids a chance to get their hands dirty.

According to Museum Director Emilie Cobb, the 2019 Geology Dig, scheduled for June 15, will have four different time slots available — 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and noon — for children ages 3 to 14 to sign up.

"I'll give a short talk about geology, and then they'll mine for gemstones in the flume out back, and they get to keep what they find," said Cobb.

Examples of gemstones kids can expect to discover are amethyst, a purple stone; citrine, which is heated amethyst where the purple turns orange when under pressure for a long period of time; flourite; rough emeralds; rubies and sapphires.

"We've been doing it for several years, but this is only the third year that we've had the big flume to do it," Cobb said. "What they used to do was buy different types of gemstones and mix it with dirt and use a hose, so this is a lot easier. But they've been doing it for awhile."

The flume was built in late 2016 by local volunteers with the materials provided by the Sandy Creek Mining Company.

"We're gonna give you a 5-pound bag of dirt, and in that dirt is mixed-in different gemstones. We're also gonna give you a screen that fits into the flume," said Cobb. "You dump part of the dirt in and then the screen into the water, and the water washes away the useless stuff into the bottom tank, and the gemstones are left behind."

Between 75 and 100 children are expected to sign up, Cobb said, with 25 slots per time period. She added they ask that people call to register because of the different time slots and to know how many people will be attending.

The Geology Dig is free, and during the event the museum will also be open without charge.

Rankin Museum has been in operation since 1987 with three main sections featuring natural history, local history and Native American culture. The museum's front lobby also houses the Andre the Giant exhibit.

"We just like to provide a fun, educational activity for the community where people can have fun with their kids when they're here," Cobb said.

Rankin Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays other than Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 2-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Those interested in registering for the Geology Dig or would like more information on the museum can call 910-652-6378.

Last modified on Friday, 31 May 2019 19:26