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Previous Events

Hart park
gem, mineral, and fossil show

By: Shannon Graewin

The Wisconsin Geological Society hosts an annual show featuring dealers in fine gemstones, mineral specimens, fossils, jewelery, and gifts made from natural materials.  Local and national dealers fill the huge space of the historic cream city brick Muellner building at Hart Park located at 7300 Chestnut St. in Wauwatosa, WI.  The show is put together by the combined volunteer efforts and talents of the WGS members under the leadership of Paul Schmidt.

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The Historic Howard Muellner Building of Hart Park, Wauwatosa featuring a historic design in cream city brick work.  Photo courtesy of MilwaukeeParks. org

In one day, the members of WGS tranform this beautiful space into an amazing venue for learning and fun for the science lovers of the Milwaukee area.

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Before.  Photo courtesy MilwaukeeParks. org

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After.  Photo by Pierre Couture

Tables are arranged into sections for dealer areas, and electrical cords are run over the entire venue to allow dealers access to lighting and payment processing.  Handmade custom display cases are constructed for the front entrance to highlight collections and talents of the volunteers that fill them.  Baked goods, hot dogs, coffee and sodas are prepared and brought into the kitchen for refreshments and lunch during the show.  Once the structure is set up, the dealers arrive to set up, arrange, and display their items.  Paul Schmidt is our show chairmain and does a tremendous amount of organization and problem solving for the show to run smoothly

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Paul Schmidt is the WGS Show Chairman and does a tremendous amount of organization and problem solving to make sure the show runs smoothly.  You can see that even the dinosaurs are paying attention to his instructions.  Photo by Verna Schmidt

Our hardworking (current) President Pierre Couture hauling supplies, displays, and other essentials to the show.  Photo by Pierre Couture (I think)

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 Dealers Dick and Marty Anderson of Doc's Rock Clocks  were set up and ready to open.  Photo by Pierre Couture

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Kitty Klein and Marilyn Smits were some of many who volunteered at the admissions table.  Raffle tickets were also handed out here.  Photo by Pierre Couture

In the main entrance to the show, beautiful showcases were designed and displayed behind the general admissions table.  Closeups of some can be seen below.  The amount of effort to teach and show great examples by the displayers is evident.

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John and Sue Eyre featured "All That Glitters" an amazing display about pyrite, otherwise known as Fool's Gold for its golden luster and its mimicry of real gold.  Photo by Christopher Nohl


Pierre Couture showed a museum quality diorama of all the various types of quartz.  An amazing teaching tool was highlighted by the minerals' beauty and thoughtfulness of the organization.  Photo by Christopher Nohl

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The McGovern Centers "Fun Gems" demonstrated the skill, art, and jewelery created by the participants of the volunteer program for seniors run by Ed Fyrnys and Linda Hoffman. Photo by Leslie Schmerin

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More amazing art and jewelry from the talented folks at the McGovern Center.  Photo by Christopher Nohl


Amethyst of the world case by Shannon Graewin.  Photo by Christopher Nohl


I hoped they liked it, but mom looks overwhelmed.  Photo by Christopher Nohl

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A fantastic display of rocks found around Wisconsin by Jody Rymaszewski, who is an alumnus of the UWM- Geology Department.  Photo by Paul Schmidt

Some of the dealers at our show:

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An aerial view of the ground floor taken from the second floor.  Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

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WGS legend Lloyd Brown works the WGS Club Sales Area.  Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

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WGS legend Lloyd Brown sorts specimens for the WGS Club Sales Area.  Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

Dealer Keith Christy helps a customer.  Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

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Gracie, age 8, at the Chrysalis set up.  She was able to sight identify tourmaline, aquamarine, beryls, rhodochrosite, apatite...  I tried to hire her on the spot, but her dad said no.  Photo by Gracie's dad, which he sent to me

John Eyre helps a family in the WGS Club Sales Area.  Photo by Paul Schmidt

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Beautifully faceted gemstones and gorgeous finished jewelry were offered by Don and Nancy Shervy of Treasure Gems.  They are a great resource for those interested in learning about gems as they have an amazing selection and many very rare stones. Photo by Paul Schmidt

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Kevin Ponzio of Earth Prospect and Mining Co is a Wisconsin mineral expert who mined many locations in Wisconsin.  He mined the long closed Vulcan Quarry (aka Ives Quarry) in Racine and many other places.  He has also served as President of the Midwest Federation, the parent club of WGS. Photo by Paul Schmidt

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Mike Macali has given away all of the door prizes which included many mineral and fossil books - including childrens books.  Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

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Rose gives a tour through ancient times with a colorful and informative display.  Photo by Paul Schmidt

In addition to the main vendors, several special exhibits were also displayed.  One is a seismology learning area hosted by Brett Kettner of UW-Milwaukee and his grad students

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Movers and shakers from UWM Geology Department.  Brett Kettner and students.  Photos by Jody Rymaszewski

Another special guest was Kenneth Gass who gave a lecture and signed copies of his new fossil book

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Kenneth Gass' book about the Devonian Fossils of the Milwaukee Area which have long been overlooked by acedemia in general.  His lecture was well attended and showed many great photos of fossils from our area

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A great display of crinoids and other fossils common in the Milwaukee area.  Photo by Paul Schmidt

A full room and exhibit devoted to the Junior Rockhounds division of WGS was run by Denise Hohenfeldt and Verna Schmidt.  It featured activities such as crafting bracelets and decorating picture frames.  The children also opened dino"eggs" and used the entire venue for a fun scavenger hunt

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Verna Schmidt helping with children's activites.  I obtained this photo from Jody and just now noticed that 2 of my triplet nieces (Sydney and Mackenzie) are in the background!  The inset photo is the amethyst bracelet that Sydney made at the show and gave to me as a present.  Large photo by Jody Rymaszewski, inset photo by S. Graewin

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Denise Hohenfeldt, who has restarted the Junior Rockhounds activities and learning for children, ran the children's events for our 2019 show.  This area was so popular that we even ran out of  scavenger hunt worksheets which was a scramble to make more Photo from Linkedin

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We will probably need to double the Junior Rockhounds area for the next show!  Pierre Couture's niece helped instruct and is pictured in the foreground in the pink shirt.  Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

Denise Hohenfeldt (center) is ready with tables of activities and crafts for the children's activities  Photo by Paul Schmidt

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Refreshments and baked goods sales were headed up by Bob and Merri Schmidt with big help by Barbara Brown (WGS legendary baker) Jody Rymaszewski, Pierre Couture, Kitty and Steve Klein, John and Sue Eyre

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Jody and Pierre.  Photos by Jody Rymaszewski

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 Jody Rymaszewski

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Kitty and Steve Klein

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John and Sue Eyre.  They also did the custom pyrite display shown earlier.  John had two amazing faceted uraninite gemstones which he terrified me with the screaming Geiger counter readings

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 Two volunteers from UWM help Jody Rymaszewski in the background 

John Hammetter and Pierre Couture did overnight shifts as well as participate during the days of the show.  This kept everything running smoothly and saved the club great expenditures.  They also have been president and vice president for many years and did incredible work for the show.  John was the emcee and problem solver for the show.  Pierre did the custom quartz display seen earlier and worked the Club Sales 

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John Hammetter.  Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

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Pierre Couture and rock.   Photo by Jody Rymaszewski

Barbara Brown is underrepresented here due to a lack of pictures.  She bakes an incredible amount for the show and has been the WGS secretary for many years.  If anyone has photos, please send them to me so I can add them.  I also know that many other members participated in a large way and I deeply apologize if I have failed to recognize them.

More Information on the 2022 Hart Park Show will be upcoming in the fall

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