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Mineral Museum — Facilities

atrium display
Large specimens from Tennessee on display in the Headen Center atrium, in front of the NMBG Publications Store.

In 2015, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology moved to a new, three-story, 85,000 sq. foot facility named the Headen Center.  The Mineral Museum and Publications Store can be found on the first floor atrium, where large minerals and ‘touch and feel’ specimens are aesthetically displayed.

The Headen Center on the corner of Bullock Blvd and Leroy Place on the New Mexico Tech campus
Photo by Matt Zimmerer
atrium display
A variety of colorful minerals on exhibit in the Americas Display case.
Photo by Matt Zimmerer


Mineral exhibits in the museum concentrate mainly on New Mexico, but also include specimens from around the world.  Minerals from eight important New Mexico mining districts and areas (Organ, Santa Rita and Tyrone, Fierro-Hanover, Hansonburg, Magdalena, Old and New Placers, NM Pegmatites, and NM Uranium districts) highlight important minerals from each location.

sales cases
Minerals for sale in the museum sales case

Other featured displays include minerals from:

  • Southwest US (exclusive of NM)
  • United States (exclusive of the southwest)
  • Asia & Australia
  • Europe & Africa
  • Americas (South, Central, & Canada)

Additional displays include:

  • New Acquisitions
  • Meteorites & Associated Phenomena
  • Lapidary
  • New Mexico Gold & Silver
  • Dana Systematic Classification
  • New Mexico Agates & Geodes
  • Petrified Wood
  • Gemstones
  • Guest Collections
  • UV Fluorescent Minerals

All casework in the new facility is composed of glass, stainless steel, painted maple, and white oak. Four standup cases dominate the interior, with smaller cases lining the outer walls of the gallery. The ultraviolet collection lies behind the Dana reference collection in a small, walk-through hallway without any doors or shades. Lighting for the cases consists of full-spectrum LEDs.  The cases can accommodate additional lighting, with additional electrical hookup built in. An open area spans the middle of the gallery to accommodate additional displays for the future. Sales cases are maintained in the entry so that the visitor may bring a mineral treasure home. All proceeds from mineral sales & monetary donations are used for the purchase of new museum material.

Reference Collection

In addition to the displays, the museum offers a large reference collection for scientific use. The reference collection is housed on the museum’s second floor and is available to all interested persons (an appointment should be made with the museum director before its use). The museum also has two lab facilities: 1) A "dirty" lab contains saws, polishers, a fume hood, and rock crushing/splitting equipment, and 2) a "clean" lab that houses petrographic microscopes, photographic equipment, and other preparation materials. The museum also offers traveling exhibits and its personnel provide educational programs to amateurs and professionals alike.

sales cases
New Mexico quartz specimens on display at the March 2016 Albuquerque Gem Show.

Collections Procedures

Download the manual in PDF Format (revised December, 2022)

Teacher Information

The Mineral Museum has over 15,000 visitors a year, many visitors are part of school groups. To schedule a formal visit (with guide), please contact Cynthia Connolly at (575) 835-5624. You are welcome to visit on your own. We have prepared a Visitor's Tour for you to use. This guide includes much of the information presented to you on a formal tour.

For K-12 school teachers, we have prepared lesson plans that meet the NM Science Standards & Benchmarks. Please send feedback on the lesson plans to Cynthia Connolly, our Outreach Coordinator.

Minerals are a gateway to a love of science!