Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Rock Sparkles, and So Does the Setting

The Museum of Geology / Museo de Geominero
09/07/11 - Calle Ríos Rosas, 23
Gallery of the Geology Museum
The free Museum of Geology inhabits a breath-taking gallery within the Institute of Geology and Mining of Spain, and is filled with fossils, gems, and mineral specimens from all over the world.  The 1926 building was declared a protected Monument of the Community of Madrid in 1998.  Due to the museum’s location in a government building, visitors must show passports to enter—a requirement, I point out with some indignation, not indicated on the museum website. I went home with S1 and S2 in order to retrieve our documents; by the time we returned, S1 was as stony as the mineral deposits, minus the sparkle. 

To my mind the gallery itself is the star exhibit: three stories high and covered by a vast, stained-glass skylight that is decorated at its edges with the names and shields of major Spanish cities.  Wrought-iron balconies wrap around the periphery on each tier.  In the main space, carved wood and glass display cases alternate with rocks and fossils set out for tactile exploration.  This 39-second video provides a glimpse of the impressive room.

Small children will love climbing the narrow, spiral staircases that connect the peripheral galleries.  I loved the geode that was big enough to climb into, and contained a spectacular cristal at its center, like the surprise inside a Fabergé egg. 

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