Museum Trustees Acquire "World Class" Specimens

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Trustees Don Roeder (left) and Jim Richardson place the new copper specimen in the display case at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum last week. The trustees returned from the recent gem and mineral show with six new items for the local museum.

Trustees of the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center in Piggott recently returned from their annual pilgrimage to Tucson, Ariz. and the world's largest gem and mineral show. "This is the ninth show that we've attended since the museum opened," noted trustee Jim Richardson of the event.

And, as they did in their previous eight trips to the desert, the group brought back several new specimens to add to the already voluminous collection. The museum, thanks to the efforts of Matilda Pfeiffer, boasts over 1,400 minerals, gems and geodes--many of which were gathered by Pfeiffer between 1960 and 1988. The museum also houses an extensive collection of Native American artifacts. Most are from the private collection of the late Laws Cargill, a Piggott businessman who collected the items over many decades.

Tuesday, Feb. 26 the trustees showed off the new items, and placed them in their new homes in the display cases of the local museum.

In addition to the copper specimen, the trustees of the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum brought back five new items to add to the extensive collection. The new offerings include, from left: Front--rouge quartz from Russia, azurite with malachite from Morocco and amethyst from Madagascar. Back--barite on matrix from Iowa and stilbite with apophyllite from India.

"We did well, we not only acquired several nice specimens of composites, but we also got our hands on an outstanding copper piece that came from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan," noted trustee Don Roeder. "And, it's a big one--it weighs nine pounds and 10 ounces, and it's over 13 inches tall."

Roeder noted the copper is a very high quality mineral specimen. "Any major museum in the world would love to have this in their collection," he added.

The museum, which boasts one of the most extensive privately held gem and mineral collections in the world, also acquired another item native to North America. "We acquired a beautiful Barite on Matrix composite piece," Roeder added. "It originally came from Buffalo, Iowa."

The remainder of the new pieces now on display came from a variety of locations from across the globe. "The other items included a large piece of amethyst from Madagascar, a composite piece of azurite with malachite from Morocco, a rouge (or red) quartz specimen from Dalnegorsk, Russia and a stilbite with apophyllite composition from India," Roeder added.

Also making the trip with Richardson and Roeder was trustee Deanna Dismukes, who made her first visit to the show.

Offerings at the local museum also include 10 uncut Murfreesboro, Ark., diamonds. The diamonds had been on display in a Philadelphia museum since the 1930's and were purchased by the trustees at the show in Feb. 2007. The diamonds range from .43 to 4.95 carats in weight and vary in color and clarity. Roeder indicated that the trustees have been asked to bring the diamonds back to the Tucson show next February to take part in a special display.

The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The staff includes Director Teresa Taylor and Asst. Director Ella Jean Mack along with the trustees. Those wanting more information about the museum may visit them online at or call 870 598-3228.

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