What to do? On a recent pouring-down-rain Saturday when my daughter and grandsons were here for their annual three-day visit, the boys opted for “let’s go to the movies” and moaned and groaned when I dragged them down to the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum on Phillips Street, only because I had been there fleetingly just once and many people have said it is really a special place to learn more about the rocks and minerals in the “Gem Capital of the World.”
Wow! What a great afternoon spent in the best-kept-secret destination in Franklin! As soon as we walked in the front door, three staff members greeted us with questions about where we were from, what the boys might be interested in and would we like the grand tour? Other groups there were accorded the same courteous welcome. Our guide was a most enthusiastic and knowledgeable gentleman who told interesting stories about how rocks, minerals and fossils were formed and preserved, showed us local gems, even indian artifacts, and the beautiful display of fluorescent rocks found locally and around the world. Our guide took us upstairs to “the slammer,” and enlightened us on a little of Franklin’s “true crime” history as the museum is located in the old jailhouse building, built in 1859 and listed on the national historic register.
The Gem Museum is filled with unusual precious stones, minerals and artifacts which cannot be found in one place anywhere in this state. I was awed with the rare collection and attractive displays and my grandsons were bursting with all they learned in such a fun-filled way because of our class A teacher-guide. It is obvious the volunteers love the museum and their “work” of helping others to appreciate the amazing beauty, value and diversity of rocks and minerals all around us. What a wonderful asset for our community.
I hope the schools and youth groups schedule field trips to the Gem Museum and that people like me who live here don’t wait for visitors to help us discover this hidden treasure right in our own hometown. You’ll never look at a plain old stone the same old way ever again.
Debby Boots — Franklin, N.C.