Like most children, I had a small rock collection. Most of my specimens came from gift shops where my family took its annual vacations. Included in my collection are: a geode slice from Yellowstone State Park, a clear quartz crystal from a museum in Grand Rapids, several different quartz keepsakes from Mammoth Cave and Horse Cave in Kentucky, and some things I don’t remember where that came from. I put all of them in a beautiful carved box my father gave me and didn’t look at them again for many years.
I picked up collecting rocks in college. My science professor assigned everyone a rock collection project in my geology class. Some of my friends, including my now lovable hubby, helped put mine together. Collecting rocks and fossils became a quirky hobby my hubby and I still do together. We have quite the assortment of specimens we have found over the past eight years.
Our oldest son became fascinated with all things nature in the past year. He likes to pull out my old box of rocks and other containers of rock, fossils, shells, etc. I have come up with a few different ways to display and store our collection. Some of these are purely decorative while others make specimens easily accessible for curious hands.
1. Apothecary Jars: any glass jar or container will do. I have used canning jars, vases, and bowls. These usually made their way to my bookshelves as decoration or bookends.
2. Bookends: as I said above, jars and vases with rocks and fossils make great bookends. I also have this pair of geode bookends.
3. Cloche: I found mine at a church rummage sale, but I have also seen them at Goodwill. My cloche has three giant fossils my husband and I found on our trip to Myrtle Beach.
4. Display Box: images of old printer trays and curiosity cabinets are popular on Pinterest. I went with this slightly more affordable display box, which I paid $18 for on Amazon. It houses all of the fossils my hubby and I have found over the years (with the exception of the trilobite fossil, all of our specimens have been found).
5. Tool Sorter: this is actually my son’s collection. He started his collection less than a year ago. My mom found this tool sorter in her garage, but these can be found at any hardware store or tool section at large superstores (Meijer, Wal*Mart, etc).
6. Magnetic Tins: this is the most recent display I put together. I’ve seen these used as spice racks all over the internet. I found mine at the Dollar Tree. (Yes, I did put rocks in my pocket to test the strength of the magnets before purchasing them.) I like this display for organizing and showing off specimens from different trips. Here I have shells and lava rocks from Myrtle Beach, a break your own geode from Michigan, and some fossil conglomerates from our camping trip to Madison*, Indiana, this year.
*Madison, Indiana, is a great place to find fossils. It is located along the Ohio River right across from Kentucky. Sea glass and small fossils wash up along the river shore. We had to be careful walking on the beach because there was broken glass and other trash. Madison also has a wonderful road cut just outside of town. Every rock we picked up had at least one fossils in it. I wanted to find some trilobites, but we only found brachiopods and corals.
I hope this list inspires some people to display their found treasures. I have plans to make a hanging display of geode slices for my kitchen window. If it turns out well, I will write a post about it. I want to wait until the holidays are over before purchasing supplies.