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The Story of Gems and Minerals at NHM

How did the Museum acquire all of its gem and mineral specimens over time?

Download "95 Years of Gems & Minerals at NHM" (PDF) to read all about how this popular department has grown. Learn more >

What's a Meteorite?

Is that rock in your backyard really from outer space?

Find out how to identify meteorites and much more info on our Mineral Science FAQs page.
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Staff Biographies

Eloïse Gaillou, Ph.D., Associate Curator

Dr. Gaillou joined the Department of Mineral Sciences as Associate Curator in January 2012. She obtained her Master's degree in Geology in 2003 from the University of Clermont-Ferrand (France) and her Ph.D. in Materials Science in 2006 from the Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN) Nantes (France). From 2006 to 2010, she was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution and then held a combined postdoctoral research fellowship with both the Smithsonian and the Carnegie Institution (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism) until the end of 2011. Dr. Gaillou's research focuses on gem materials, especially opals and diamonds. Click here to know more about her research!

Anthony R. Kampf, Ph.D., Curator Emeritus

Dr. Kampf joined the Natural History Museum staff in January 1977, immediately after earning his Ph.D. in mineralogy and crystallography from the University of Chicago. He was instrumental in the creation of the Museum’s world-renowned Hall of Gems and Minerals, which opened in 1978, and through the years he has implemented many additions and improvements to the gallery. Since 1980, Dr. Kampf has been Curator of the Mineral Sciences Department and has overseen the growth of the Museum's mineral and gem collections, from about 20,000 to more than 150,000 specimens. He conducts research principally in the areas of descriptive mineralogy, crystal chemistry, and structural crystallography — focusing on the characterization of new or inadequately described minerals and is the U.S. delegate to the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association.

Alyssa R. Morgan, M.S., Collections Manager

In September 2007, Alyssa Morgan joined the Mineral Sciences Department as Collections Manager. Alyssa began collecting rocks and meteorites as a child, which was the beginning of a life-long passion for science. She received her bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences from the University of Washington and her master’s degree in Geological Sciences from Brown University. Her specialties were experimental igneous petrology and planetary geology. Her research focused on the petrogenesis of lunar volcanic rocks and the composition and evolution of the lunar mantle.

Mary P. Stambaugh, M.S., Gem & Mineral Council Coordinator

In September 2010, Mary Stambaugh joined the Mineral Sciences Department as the Gem & Mineral Council Coordinator. She is a member of The Gem & Mineral Council and has been on the Board for several years. She has always been a collector of rocks, fossils, and pretty gems. She is an enthusiastic “museum person” joining her first museum in high school. Mary received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Lewis University and her master’s degree in Physical Chemistry from Florida State University. Because of her love of gems, she has also earned an Associate of Science degree in Gemology at Santiago Canyon College. She has over 20 years of experience in Materials & Process engineering, specializing in coatings, adhesives, plastics, and UV chemistry. Mary & her husband love to travel internationally, especially with the Gem & Mineral Council.