History of the MGMC
The McPherson Gem and Mineral Club can trace its origins back to 1957 when a group of local rockhounds banded together with the intent to form an organization for the study and enjoyment of rocks, minerals, and fossils. The first meeting place was in the old McPherson Y.M.C.A. building on south Main Street. Later, the club met at McPherson College, the McPherson Museum, and the McPherson Public Library. The MGMC currently meets at the McPherson Senior Center.
In 1959, the MGMC became incorporated with the state of Kansas. The MGMC joined the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies (RMFMS) in the 1970s. The RMFMS is one of seven regional federations that make up the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS). These Societies serve to disseminate information to member clubs across the United States, as well as provide a framework of information to keep the hobby of rockhounding alive.
One of the missions of the MGMC is to present programs and to teach about various geological subjects. MGMC members and guest geologists, scientists, jewelers, and hobbyists continue this tradition.
The types of programs are a diverse assortment of rock, fossil, gem, and mineral related subjects covering such areas as paleontology, meteoritics, vulcanology, mineralogy, collecting, jewelry making, silversmithing, glass blowing, and sculpting. The type of program presented is limited only by the imagination of the MGMC members and the program chairman.
Field trips are an integral part of the MGMC’s scope. The club has searched for geologic specimens all over the state of Kansas, and out of state as well. Some of the favorite places to hunt are the Chalk Beds in western Kansas. Monument Rocks, Castle Rock, and Wildcat Canyon are some of the many places that members have searched for fossilized shark teeth, marine invertebrates, and marine reptile bones.
Other localities include the glacial till regions of northeast Kansas, the lead and zinc mining district of southeast Kansas, and the Flint Hills, where numerous invertebrate fossils have been collected. Other trips have been taken to museums with geologic exhibits and to member’s homes where they showcase their collections.
Another aspect of the MGMC is its outreach programming. Members have volunteered to be leaders in the Kansas 4-H geology project. Several of the children involved in the 4-H program have gone on to join the MGMC with their families. Other MGMC members have gone to local schools, scout groups, church groups, and civic organizations to make presentations on a wide variety of geology related subjects.
Since 1992 the MGMC has hosted an annual “Rock Swap” where dealers come to buy, sell, and trade rocks, minerals, fossils, and jewelry. This event is held the first full weekend in May and dealers from as far away as Washington, Ohio, Arizona, and even Canada have attended. The event is free and open to the public and MGMC members are encouraged to display their collections. Mineral identification, door prizes, a fluorescent room, and auction are all part of the festivities.
Since 1992 the MGMC has published its award winning bulletin entitled The Post Rock. The bulletin is composed of MGMC member stories, tips, and news from other clubs across Kansas, the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies (RMFMS), and the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS). The Post Rock bulletin itself and stories by MGMC members are entered every year into the RMFMS and AFMS bulletin contest. Both the bulletin and several of the MGMC’s members have won awards at both regional and national levels.
The MGMC has been and continues to be a fun, family oriented entity that serves the local community. In addition to our local members, the MGMC has members from most of the surrounding communities and across the state of Kansas. The MGMC mission is to spread the news of the wonders that come from the Earth and to make it known that our lives would be very different if it wasn’t for geology.