The Mineralogical and Geological Museum dates back to 1891. Begun in the late 18th century, the museum's teaching and display collection of minerals was transformed into a fine research collection with the bequest of A. F. Holden (class of 1888). The Harvard mineral collection now ranks among the world's finest due to its very broad representation, wealth of rare species, large number of specimens described in the scientific literature, and the quality of its displa y specimens. The systematic mineral collection and displays of rough and cut gemstones are the principal exhibits in the mineral gallery.
The collections of rocks and ores, worldwide in scope, were acquired primarily through the field work of faculty and students. The Smith meteorite collection, acquired in 1883, gave the museum international standing in the study o f meteorites. Taken together, these various collections constitute an impressive sampling of the earth's crust.
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