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.
  • Take Metro or use ParkMobile app for on-street parking on Constitution Avenue 6:30-10 PM. Or park on other streets.

Meeting Feb. 6, 2019 -- Tim Rose of the Smithsonian will tell us about his recent mineral-related history research: Goodyear Meets the Mad Hatter:  Innovative composite saxophone mouthpieces of the 1920s and their effect on the growth of jazz

The invention of semi-synthetic and synthetic plastics has changed daily life around the world.  In the early 20th century, these new materials combined with the electrification of America and good old American ingenuity. This study focuses on composite saxophone mouthpieces and the Great American Saxophone Craze of the 1920s.  Analysis of mineral additives to the hard rubber of the mouthpieces reveals some very interesting, perhaps frightening facts.  This is a very fun historical materials science talk that really does have some very important mineralogy in it.

Please join us in taking Tim to dinner at 6:00 PM before the club meeting. We'll have dinner at the Elephant and Castle Restaurant, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, just a couple of blocks from our meeting place -- the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  If you can't make it to dinner, meet us in the Constitution Avenue lobby of the Natural History Museum at 7:30 PM. 

If you come to dinner, be aware that there’s no parking on most downtown streets until 6:30 PM.


Parking for meetings:

  • The NMNH parking lot is closed to us through 2025 (7 years) because of construction.
  • On-street parking on Constitution Avenue is available only after 6:30 PM. It costs $3-4 per hour until 10 PM. It's free after 10 PM. Meetings and social time often last until 9:45 – 10 PM.
  • Payment for parking on Constitution Avenue - at a kiosk, or with the free app ParkMobile. Download it to your cell phone via GooglePlay or AppStore.
  • Maybe parking on 7th Street, 12th Street, and on the Mall is also available, maybe at lower cost.
  • Carpools can save on parking costs.

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!