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Stimulating young collectors
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Jim Prentiss




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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2009 07:15    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

Hello Everyone,

I will no doubt have numerous questions, but one that comes to mind, after reading some of these posts, has to do with risers. What is the appropriate "rise"? Is there any ratio of the size of the display surface to the rise? Or any other specifications for the use of risers?

Actually there is another question. Is there some standard size that the display cabinet has to be?

Thanks,

Jim Prentiss
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jimB




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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2009 22:08    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

Hi Jim,

Risers serve a couple important functions. You know mortar in a brick wall serves to hold bricks together? It also serves to hold them apart. Kind of unsung, but still true.

Many impressive displays have been ruined simply becasue the display case looks empty, to much void. A display needs to look filled, or needs to bring about satisfaction in the viewers eye. One certain way to ruin this is to present an empty looking case. Oh for sure there may be a satisfactory count of specimens considering the bottom surface area of the case but unless some of the void is removed ( filled) the case looks empty.

Risers fill that space. Now back to how big . Two, 4 inch risers in a thumbnail display probably wont work although 4, two inch risers may work very well. I would also elevate the base riser a couple inches as well, even though the casual observer will not detect this.

Risers do not have to run the entire length of the case although this "segmented" approach should be done with caution as one needs to avoid a chopped up or "islands" configuration. I think for most intents, simplest is best. A few displays have been done in (kaput) simply because the riser configuration was far to elaborate (complex).

I don't want to ramble but for sure build a mock up at home and study the relation between the riser height, shelf depth and the average specimen size.

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jimB




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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2009 22:29    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

I enjoy judging showmanship. There are very few points to be awarded therein but believe me every point is valuable and a blue ribbon contender at any Tucson Show can not afford to shed a single one. Each entrant must strive to get every showmanship, rarity and labeling point available.

Sloppy labels (look like they were dealt) or poorly cut crooked labels, wrinkles in fabric, excessive shadows, bases look like juniors baby block set, a drop of blood (OMG) will cost you...and this should! It is the name of the game. A ribbon from Tucson should be a treasure and must set the bar. A collector should say" I earned this" as he/she holds out a ribbon or plaque from a Tucson Show. These points are available to every entrant. They can not be bought. It is rewarding to plan and set up a winning case.

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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Dec 10, 2009 09:22    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

Just as a point of reference, Jim B. and I have been involved with judging competitive exhbits at the Tucson Show for over 20 years now. Yes, Jim, you ARE that old. His comments are a good start to answering the question about risers.

There is no official "standard" exhibit case size but in the United States, most shows have used the Pony case or some derivation for the past 45 or years. It has a footprint approximately 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep. This is true for the Denver cases, the Tucson cases and the Cinncinnati cases. Thumbnail exhibitors tend to use a smaller case when possible and there are cases at Tucson that are 2 feet wide and 6 feet wide.

Now to add to Jim's comments about risers. If your specimens are large enough, say big enough that four or five will fill a case, then you probably do not need risers. However, even then, if they are all about the same size, using something to raise up the specimens in the back will still be helpful and make the exhibit more pleasing to the eye. Riser height needs to reflect the specimens being shown. For thumbnails and miniatures, risers between 1" and 2" are about right. Even a 2" riser for thumbnails may be a bit high but if the thumbnails are on individual bases that raise each specimen up 1/2", then it is probably okay.

Larger specimens can use risers from 2" to 3" or 4". One of the other risks is that you do not want to have risers so tall that you cannot view the top row of specimens. Risers can go the entire length of the case or can be used in the center or corners of the exhibit. For thumbnails, a 4 foot case can be a bit large so what Paula has done is angled the sides from the front outside edges to the center of the back so the display has a triangular look. In the place of risers I have used a sloping bottom liner and attached individual bases to that liner.

I hope this helps.
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jimB




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PostPosted: Dec 11, 2009 22:48    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

Egad! I'm old, huh?

One thing is sure, I won't order a banana split behind a two belly chinese meal again.

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BlueCapProductions




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PostPosted: Mar 05, 2010 01:44    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

Les,

Did you receive my email regarding the next steps for this video?

If not, send me an email at bryan[at]bluecapproductions[dot]com and I'll resend.

Thanks!!

-Bryan

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simonoff




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PostPosted: Mar 05, 2010 23:10    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

I think the question of how to stimulate young collectors is pretty complex - it depends on the kid and their interests. Trying to use the wrong approach on a given kid has a good chance of backfiring. But, rocks and minerals have so many facets (pun intended) that there should be something for everyone, the problem is finding the bait for an individual kid and hooking them. Here are some things I have seen first hand.

- Main Event Tucson 2009, one dealer would not let my 10 year old daughter into their booth - no kids allowed. I have seen many other dealers largely ignore her, even when she asked questions (no sale no talk). This could have easily turned her off collecting for good. However, she had already been hooked and took a "his loss" attitude.

- One dealer (Jeff Fast) took out "cool" pieces and did a 1 on 1 with her, giving his undivided attention. He seemed to really make an effort. A dealer is in a great position to experiment a bit to try to see if a kid is interested in shape, color, ... and then show more samples along those lines of interest. Not necessarily to sell to them, just to get them interested.

- My daugher loves the science as well as everything else about minerals. We are fortunate to have met Marcus Origlieri a little over a year ago. Whenever Jessica has questions, he seems very happy to sit with her and answer everything he can. He takes the time and explains things to her in a way she can understand. In her case, this is great because her dad knows very little about minerals, still.

- Another dealer some of you might have heard of, his name is Jordi. We met him this past Tucson. He took a different approach still - but a great one for kids. He told stories. He asked her thoughts and opinions. He actively engaged her in discussion.

- Many shows set up a fluorescent booth - the bright colors can sometimes fascinate the kids, until they learn they can't make it happen on their own. I have seen kids ask parents for a light (coincidentally there is a booth right next door!) Then they find out that the light costs $200-$300, so that opportunity is lost. On the other hand I know of one dealer (Mark Cole) who gives out a keychain LW UV light to kids and lets them pick through a box containing some LW minerals. So they pick the mineral AND can make it happen.

- Mindat gave out sticker books to kids in Tucson 2010. Some kids probably thought that great - might even look at some of the stickers and become interested.

- Field collecting opportunities are another area all together. My daughter loves field collecting. Unfortunately where we live, it is very hard to find her such opportunities. So many areas are privately owned, commercially owned, etc. On top of that most of our local clubs have a policy restricting kids from collecting in quarries due to insurance - and quarries are almost the only legal opportunity in our area. I actually had one local dealer tell me that he had no collecting opportunities as a kid and he still loves minerals, so why should kids today have that opportunity.

- Some kids think the science is very neat others consider that a yawn-fest. But this is like adults too. Many people I know go for aesthetics and don't care about the crystallography. Other collectors will pay a lot for an unusual habit even if it is not pretty. Still other collectors will pay thousands of dollars if the mineral is a mere micro-smudge, since it may fill a hole in a systematic collection.

If we want kids in the hobby/field we need to find ways to make them know that there is something in this hobby for them, something they can get excited about. We need to find ways to let them take part in the hobby. If they get the message that they are not welcome (can’t buy due to cost, can’t collect due to age, can’t get close because because something might break, etc) they will move on and find something they can engage in.

Just one man’s opinion.
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Jason




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PostPosted: Mar 06, 2010 00:56    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

I missed this thread before..need to go back a read the whole thing..but wanted to add..the best way to stimulate young collectors..hands down..is digging/mining....whether it be a salted fee dig like Hiddenite or a real mine like jackson crossroads or crabtree or arkansas nothing sparks a bigger interest than pulling out a crystal or mineral..seen it many many times..thats how i got started collecting..exact way i got started..never picked up a crystal or mineral before i went ammy digging and it was like gold fever..like night and day..that was 2 1/2 years ago when i was 28 years old..now i am 30 and going strong...digging/mining is the best way in my opinion..you see that gleam in the eye thats hard to reproduce..hand a yound child or collector a hemmomorphite or wulfenite that is world class..he/she may say cool..let him/her find a small quartz crystal point by himself...BAM..it's the greatest thing in the world...okay..this probably had nothing to do with the thread or post..probably should have read it before i posted...LOLOL
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GneissWare




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PostPosted: Mar 06, 2010 11:14    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

simonoff wrote:
I think the question of how to stimulate young collectors is pretty complex....

If we want kids in the hobby/field we need to find ways to make them know that there is something in this hobby for them, something they can get excited about. We need to find ways to let them take part in the hobby. If they get the message that they are not welcome (can’t buy due to cost, can’t collect due to age, can’t get close because because something might break, etc) they will move on and find something they can engage in.

Just one man’s opinion.


This is an excellent analysis -- and a great set of examples. When I was more active doing shows, we would always have colorful or interesting minerals that we would give to kids that seemed interested. They would have a label and be in a foldup box, and presented to the child in the same manner as a purchased specimen. We also tried to answer their questions and otherwise engage them.

I often shared a booth with a book dealer, and it was surprising how many teachers on Friday (kids day) in Tucson would hurry the kids past the booth with comments like, "they're only books..let's move along".

On a purely practical (business) level, only a small number of the population are interested in minerals, and the same applies to kids. The loss of even one of them, has the potential to seriously deplete the pool of future consumers. Something dealers should consider the next time they waive off a child: they may have turned off someone who one day might be their biggest customer. The same applies to pricing---one should always have nice specimens available for a modest price when doing a show. Otherwise, a child will have no chance to be bitten by the collector bug.
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BlueCapProductions




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PostPosted: Mar 06, 2010 12:23    Post subject: Re: Stimulating young collectors  

AMETHYSTGUY,

I couldn't agree with you more. And I know A LOT of other people out there also believe in this.

I want to give a big thank you to Rob Lavinsky, Daniel Trinchillo and Bryan Lees with his partner Joe Dorris. These are some of the biggest dealers out there but they all have also recognized the importance of getting kids involved and are helping out by SHOWING the kids what it's like to go out and dig.

All of these guys have been sponsors of our DVD program New Crystal Hunters. In these DVDs we take small groups of kids out to different digging locations and film them learning about and digging for crystals.

To date we've filmed three episodes (Pala, Arkansas and Colorado) with the Pala and Arkansas episodes available now and the Colorado episode to be launched at this year's Denver show. Furthermore, I've gotten the green light to develop as many of these episodes as I'd like with the promise that all future episodes will be funded.

In addition to this, various Donors have stepped forward and signed on to our New Crystal Hunters Donor Program which allows us to distribute these DVDs to kids FOR FREE. To date, over 500 copies have been given out not to mention the complimentary copies we've provided to museums and schools.

Our mission with this program is to show kids the excitement that can be had by going out and getting involved. We also provide them with the information needed to contact the places we visit so that they can make their own arrangements.

So right here is one way that mineral people can get involved in bringing the next generation into our hobby. It's not as good as taking kids to the actual sites but it's pretty close!!

-Bryan

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