Friday, December 11, 2015


By Steven Wade Veatch
In 2010 Steven Veatch, a member of the Lake George Gem and Mineral Club, organized several of its members to clean and organize the mineral collection at the Cripple Creek District Museum. They did this once each year. After a few years of working on this historic collection, Veatch became aware that a more serious and sustained approach was needed to care for this collection.

Steven Veatch in front of the Cripple Creek District Museum. 
Veatch is retired from public service and a geoscientist. Photo © S. W. Veatch

Veatch wrote for and obtained a grant in 2012 from the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company for the funds to purchase curatorial equipment, including archival paints, pens, solvents, and an ultrasonic cleaner. 

A plaque announces the help provided by CC&V to make this project a success. 
Photo © S. W. Veatch

Veatch recruited Bob Carnein, a retired professor of geology, and John Rakowski, a retired petroleum geologist to help him label and record each specimen in the museum’s database. This group, who volunteers their time, continues to meet on selected Tuesdays at the museum to continue their work. Dr. Bob Carnein photographs each specimen, views each specimen under a microscope, and identifies it. John Rakowski is the general factotum ensuring that each session is a success.

This is the photographic set up used in the project. Photo © S. W. Veatch

Dr. Carnein preparing to photograph a specimen.
Photo © S. W. Veatch

A microscope is used as an aid in the identification of the specimens.
Some specimens are photographed through the microscope.
Photo © S. W. Veatch

Photomicrograph of sylvanite, a gold telluride mineral. Photo © S. W. Veatch

Photomicrograph of sylvanite in quartz. Photo © S. W. Veatch

specimen of gold ore that has been roasted. Gold has bubbled 
up on the surface. Photo © S. W. Veatch

A unique identifying number is placed on each specimen to that 
all of the data recorded with it is easily retrievable in the museum’s database. 
Photo © S. W. Veatch

For the past two years the Pikes Peak Pebble Pups, the junior members of the Lake George Gem Club and the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society, assist on some of these work days at the museum where they learn curatorial work. The director of the museum provides each Pebble Pup a certificate of training. This certificate documents the valuable job skills they learned for the day.

Jenna Salvat is a junior member of the 
Pikes Peak Pebble Pups and is spending
 a day working on the project. Photo © S. W. Veatch

Jenna is working with a microscope to 
help identify a specimen.  Photo © S. W. Veatch

Jenna Salvat is receiving her certificate of training 
rom the museum director. Photo © S. W. Veatch

This effort is important as it documents the historic mineral collection of the World’s Greatest Gold Camp. Each specimen is photographed, dusted, identified by the three earth scientists, and given a unique collection number. All of this information is recorded in the museum database.  Not only does this improve the condition of the collection, but it makes the collection scientifically.  This project is still continuing.