In Baker City, OR, you find the Baker Heritage Museum. This museum is housed in the old natatorium. The exhibits are interesting and well curated, but the gem of the museum is the Cavin-Warfel Collection of rocks and minerals. Over the lifetimes of two sisters they collected rocks and minerals from all over the world that are of such quality that the Smithsonian tried to buy the collection. The sisters decided to put the collection closer to home at the Baker Heritage Museum.
The display includes some very large quartz from Hot Springs, AR. There is a piece of calcite and iron oxide coated sidewinder snake and horned toad. The two reptiles have so much detail that is hard to imagine that this was naturally formed. (Lewis, thinks that this must be fake, after all what are the odds?)
There is a room set up with black lights that shine on some rocks behind glass. Once you turn off the lights and close the door then you can see that the rocks glow in the black light. It is very neat display. Some of the rocks on display are:
- Calcite (calcium carbonate) – glows bright orange
- Wollastonite (zinc silicate) – glows yellowish orange
- Fluorite (calcium fluoride) – glows white
- Adamite (zinc-arsenic mineral) – glows yellowish green
- Uranium Oxide Mineral – glows bright green
Other displays are about the settling of the area with information about mining, farming, and the settlers. Many of these displays are set up on the area where the pool once was. There is a display related to the movie Paint Your Wagon, which was made in the area. The building itself is very interesting history.
If you are in the area, take time to visit this interesting museum.