Curious about the world under your feet?

Join with us to explore

the earth's 4000+ minerals and how they came to be!


Mission of the Mineralogical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC)

  • To learn together and further knowledge about mineralogy and earth sciences
  • To share the pleasure of collecting minerals
  • To welcome you to explore these interests with us

Who We Are

  • We're rockhounds, professional mineral scientists, mineral collectors and enthusiasts, and people with new interests in minerals and earth sciences.
  • We're from DC, the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, and points beyond.
  • You're always welcome!

What we do:

  • Since 1942, we've met at the Smithsonian Institution to discuss all facets of earth sciences and hear  from experts in many related fields.
  • We sponsor or join with other local clubs for field trips.
  • Our monthly newsletters offer diverse articles at all knowledge levels.
  • We support mineral sciences by volunteering at the Smithsonian and elsewhere and by finding other ways to expand interest and knowledge.

When and Where

  • 1st Wednesday of every month except July and August.
  • At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
  • 7:30 p.m. in the Constitution Avenue lobby. A security officer leads us to our meeting room, so please be on time.
  • December time and place may vary.

Internationally known speaker and program on Wednesday, Oct. 3! Everyone welcome!

October 3, 2018 – The Many Faces of Fluorite


Our October presentation will be “The Many Faces of Fluorite” by Herwig Pelckmans.  I have heard this presentation once before, in April 2018 at the Atlantic Micromounters’ Conference, and I can tell you, you are in for a treat.  I can’t wait to hear it again and am very grateful that Herwig’s travels bring him into our area at a time that coincides with our October meeting. 


A little bit about Herwig:  Herwig Pelckmans is the president of the Mineralogical Society of Antwerp, Belgium; one of the most vital mineral clubs in the world.  His travels and collecting trips have brought him and his family all over Europe and the United States, and even to some countries in Africa and Asia.  In addition, he loves to write mineralogical articles and gives talks for mineral clubs (lucky us!).  Herwig also is a strong promoter for the use of the polarizing microscope and spindle stages as an inexpensive and reliable tool for mineral collectors who want to identify their unknowns in a scientific way.  He retired from his job as an officer and database administrator for the Belgian Army in 2013 and soon realized that life is even more hectic in retirement.  He, his wife, and three kids live in the small town of Hasselt, Belgium, about one hour east of Brussels.


Please join us in taking Herwig to dinner on October 3rd before the club meeting.  We will be meeting at 6:00 pm at Elephant & Castle Restaurant, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC, about 2 blocks from the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) where our club meeting is held.  If you plan to come to dinner, please send an e-mail to me (davidhennessey at comcast dot net) and let me know so I can try to get the number right for the reservation - but do not hesitate to come to dinner if you forget to e-mail.  We can always make room for more around the table.  If you cannot make it to dinner, we will meet in the NMNH lobby at 7:30 pm and head up to the Cathy Kerby Room for Herwig’s presentation.


CHANGE: Parking in the Smithsonian lot will not be available due to construction. Paid street parking should be available, and Metro is a fine option (Archives station on the Yellow/Green line, Federal Triangle station on the Blue/Orange/Silver line).

Want to know more about any of this?

  • Email us at thompson01 at erols dot com. We’re happy to answer your questions.

  • Check the MSDC newsletter.

  • Visit a meeting any time!