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.

Next field trip and meetings – everyone welcome!

Mar. 7 meeting - Garnets with John Weidner


March 24 and 31 - Thin Section Field Trip 

  • Polish a rock.
  • Glue it to a microscope slide.
  • Cut it off at about a thousandth of an inch.
  • Look at it through a polarizing microscope.
  • You are looking at a thin section, a research tool in geology for over a hundred years, and a way to make amateurs like me say “Wow!”
  • Like to look at some?
  • Come to the Thin Section Field Day, at the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, March 24 and March 31.
  • More info to follow.
  • If you plan to come, please RSVP to jfweidner at gmail dot com, so we know how many people to prepare for.

April 4 - Recent Smithsonian mineral and gem acquisitions with Dr. Jeffrey Post, head of the Smithsonian Mineral Sciences Department and gem collection

May 2 - Poland's Wieliczka Salt Mine with Denise Nelson

June 6 - Dr. Lance Kearns of the James Madison Geology and Environmental Science Department -- topic not yet announced

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!