The Virginia Mineral Project

The Virginia Mineral Project (VMP) is a state-wide project to “collect, preserve, and educate” the public about Virginia mineral heritage and geology. The project was created to revitalize old mineral publications and reintroduce the public to the wealth of mineral discoveries and important historical events that occurred over the last 150 years. While acting as a liaison between various parties across Virginia, sharing information and building strong relationships around the shared interest of minerals and geology in the state, the Virginia Mineral Project will travel to visit with collectors, museums, universities and outside organizations to collect information on some of the most classic mineral localities that have defined the state’s history.

Ultimately, the data collected by the VMP will be used to develop a new state book on the Classic Mineral Localities of Virginia. This book will not only include mineral reference information but will highlight the cultural and historical implications minerals have on Virginia. This will be a book for the community, developed by the community!

Collaboration with the Science Museum of Western Virginia and Supporting the VMP

The VMP and the Science Museum of Western Virginia have developed a collaboration for the year of 2020 to successfully institutionalize the VMP as an official state research grant project. Throughout 2020, the VMP and the Science Museum of Western Virginia will work together to develop programs and events that represent the mutual objectives of STEM education and community engagement.

The VMP is excited to announce that our project has received a generous challenge gift of $15,000 from an anonymous foundation to ensure the jump start and success of the 2020 research phase. Every donation is matched in value by this gift and goes to supporting the travels and research to collect information valuable to developing the book over the course of 2020. Click here to receive updates on our progress.

About Thomas Hale, Founder of the VMP

Thomas Hale is a 25-year old mineral collector from the Roanoke Valley. Thomas grew up with a fascination of minerals but wanted to understand the stories behind the discoveries and the lost history of some of the most classic locations now closed to the public. Reviewing older publications on Virginia Minerals, Thomas realized that the last major work was 30 years ago, and no main publications had included colored photographs. This is when Thomas had the idea of developing the Virginia Mineral Project, tasked with updating new publications and bringing new generations into the hobby. Thomas runs the Virginia Mineral Project page on Facebook where he shares his daily journeys with the public and also is the original founder of Virginia Rockhounding which is a community page with over 800 Virginian’s who want to learn more about the state’s mineralogy and geology. While Thomas does not have a traditional degree in geology, he has been heavily involved with universities, clubs, and museums across Virginia.