Mim Museum Opening in Beirut!
There were tremors in The Force on October 12 when the spectacular new Mim Museum of Mineralogy opened in Beirut, Lebanon. The establishment of a new world-class mineral museum is an extremely rare event in the world, and is a first for the Middle East. Attendees to the opening ceremonies included the President and Prime Minister of Lebanon, 12 members of the Parliament of Lebanon, the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church of Lebanon, Archbishop Caccia representing the Vatican, the Ambassadors to Lebanon from China, France, Russia and Morocco, the head of St. Joseph Jesuit University where the museum is located, and possibly one Saudi Prince. Mineralogical Record Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Dr. Wendell Wilson and Associate Publisher Tom Gressman were the only official representatives present from the world mineral-related press (and almost the only Americans). Their well-illustrated report will appear in the January-February issue of Mineralogical Record – and it will be fascinating.
“Mim” is the letter of the Arabic alphabet equivalent to “m” and standing for minerals, mines, and museum. The new museum is the brain child of one collector, Salim Eddé, who since 1997 has assembled an unbelievable mineral collection with enough display-quality, world’s-best-or-nearly-so specimens to challenge even the Smithsonian and the British Museum. Over 1400 specimens are mounted in the beautifully designed and well-lighted displays. And, although there are a great many “trophy” specimens of well-known species, there is also a huge number of truly great specimens of very rare minerals that collectors hardly ever get to see. This is a collection with depth and sophistication, obviously the product of a very passionate, well-educated and well-funded collector who knows his science and who wishes to share his passion and pass on his knowledge to others. Interactive educational touch-screens in several places allow visitors to see mineral compositions in relation to the periodic table, to rotate mineral specimen images around in every direction, and to call up specimen images from anywhere in the world.
The Mim Museum of Mineralogy is now instantly one of the great mineral museums of the world. Readers of the Mineralogical Record will be seeing photos of specimens from this collection regularly in future issues.