There are some things that humanity has historically been unable to resist. Gold. Silver. Puns. So I’ll just succumb and state that the Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals is a real gem.*

On my second visit I was no less impressed with their vast collection of bewildering specimens from the clutches of the earth. Minerals that look as downy as cotton, as soft as ermine, as poisonously pigmented as American Apparel, fill case after glass-fronted display case in the untouched rambling 50’s ranch home of former logging baron Richard Rice.** A boulder sized thunder egg with an opal center greets visitors to the NW Mineral Gallery and one room in the main house cycles through different UV lights to demonstrate the hidden phosphorescence of some otherwise banal looking rocks. In the basement you’ll not only find the sweetest linoleum floor ever laid, but a fantastic collection of petrified wood (including petrified pine cones). I posted a few more pics on flickr should you care to explore why mineralogy has informed every hipster painter in the Pacific Northwest for the past five years.

If you have a weakness for small scale museums of oddities and obsessions then I highly recommend that you check out hiddenportland.com which has put together a charming little brochure of the finest rarely visited haunts of PDX.

*I’m not the only punny one. Check out this article where they manage to get in, “It will rock your mind and salt your appetite.” Why would they write that? And how could they follow it with the fact that the museum is only “a stone’s throw off Highway 26”? Funny how puns are only funny when you’re the one making them.

**Fact check please. I believe this to be true from some informative labels I read on my first visit but I was also monitoring twelve children during that visit and must admit the possibility that this may have weakened my recall.

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