New Exhibit is Highly Relevant to Local Tradition

Set in Stone: 2000 Years of Gem and Mineral Trade in the Southwest
Soft opening Dec 14, 2007
Opening celebration Feb 1, 2008  
This exhibition will run through Feb 2010

Over the last 54 years, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has grown enormously along with its impact on the local economy.

But the lure of the minerals beneath our soil has generated trade for much longer than that. Gems, minerals, copper, and even sea shells and other exotic goods have been carried across the Southwest along well-established and well-worn routes for more than 2000 years. Arizona State Museum’s (ASM) newest exhibition “Set in Stone: 2000 Years of Gem and Mineral Trade in the Southwest” brings this long history to light, featuring 300 objects and audio-visual displays.

With Native jewelry and mining tools from across the span of time, and with mineral samples, photographs, and recordings, the viewer is transported on a journey of deep historical resonance along routes that trace how the quest for mineral wealth has shaped the identity of the Southwest. Designed to complement and coincide with the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, “Set in Stone” gives context and perspective to our community’s annual gathering.
 “We thought it would be interesting to provide some historic and social context to our beloved local tradition, to show how the quest for gems and minerals shaped Arizona’s prehistory and history, and continues to shape its present. And because we are an anthropology museum, we do that by comparing the various cultures that have developed and thrived, succeeded and failed, through the lens of the same industry,” explains ASM curator and prehistoric jewelry expert Arthur Vokes. (Vokes, along with ASM curator Diane Dittemore and Su Benaron, cultural resource manager for the town of Marana, are co-creating this exhibition).
Visitors to the exhibition will begin by exploring the routes, materials, and technologies that formed the earliest known trade systems in the Southwest. The exhibit then delves into the myths – and the truths -  about how riches brought the Spanish, the Mexicans, and the Americans to the region. The visitor will examine the impacts of historical forces and trends: critical changes in Native jewelry as it evolved from a traditional craft to a commercial and artistic enterprise; the role of trading posts; mining in Arizona’s recent past; and the importance of turquoise in Southwest trade

All along the way, visitors learn how technology, culture, people, and information were carried with trade goods as they traveled between mine or workshop and the market place. Finally, the experience brings the visitor back to the modern day where a worldwide trade network accessible at the Gem Show, impacts Native jewelry, local economics and southwestern culture. The Gem Show is seen as the continuation of what has gone before. As venders and buyers of gems and jewelry flock to Tucson each year from across the globe, what impacts do they bring with them? And what do they take home from Tucson when they leave?

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Arizona State Museum (ASM)

Tucson, AZ 85721-0026
(520) 626-8381, pager (520) 489-9138
FAX (520) 621-2976

For events and programs sponsored by the Friends of the ASM Collections, and to join up, log on to AZ State Museum Home Page or call 520-626-8381.

For more information about Arizona State Museum in general, log on to or call 520-621-6302.

Arizona State Museum is located just inside the Main Gate on the University of Arizona campus at Park Avenue and University Boulevard in Tucson.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Book of Answers (Paperback)

by David Wentworth Lazaroff (Author)

The 200,000 or so people who stroll through Tucson's Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum each year bring with them many questions: What is a desert? How is it that gophers and rattlesnakes can live in the same hole? How can I stop Gila woodpeckers from whittling down my house? If I find a desert tortoise, can I make it a pet? David Lazaroff, a biologist and writer, answers these and dozens more questions in this entertaining, intelligent book, which belongs on every Southwesterner's bookshelf. --Gregory McNamee

• Paperback: 192 pages
• Publisher: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press (March 1, 1998)
• Language: English

Insiders' Guide to Tucson, 5th (Insiders' Guide Series) (Paperback)

by Mary Paganelli Votto (Author)

Highlighting the city's Spanish and Native American traditions, this guide details the infinite opportunities available for locals and residents alike to enjoy Tucson's arts, history, and natural heritage. With sections on relocation, neighborhoods, and retirement as well as restaurants, lodging, and attractions, this guide is perfect for both the newcomer and tourist. Paperback: 400 pages Publisher: Globe Pequot; 5.00 edition (November 1, 2006)

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