The Tulip City Gem & Mineral Club was organized in 1967 and has met monthly ever since. The Club is organized exclusively as a charitable organization for the purpose of developing interest in, and increasing knowledge of minerals, rocks, gems, fossils and the lapidary arts, promoted whenever possible through family participation.
We were first formed by Joe Moran (Director of the Holland Recreation Department at that time) who advertised in the Holland Sentinel for a first meeting and some 10 or 12 couples/families joined at that initial meeting. The Club has grown through the years, and currently has one of the largest memberships of both adults and juniors of any Michigan club. Especially telling is the increase and enthusiasm of the youth for their Junior Club, which meets for part of each meeting in a separate room with their own advisers who provide programs tailored to their specific age levels.
As part of its mission to educate, the Club has provided annual scholarships to geology students at Hope College and GVSU since 1975. These awards are presented at a spring banquet to which the students, their families and the geology professor are invited. The scholarships have ranged up to $2,500 in a single year. The cumulative total awarded to date is nearly $40,000. Income from our annual show is the Club’s primary source of income and makes these scholarships possible.
Beginning in 1970, the Club hosts an annual show in September to which the public is invited. It features Club member and guest exhibits of minerals, rocks, fossils and lapidary materials. The show also provides several dealers (non-club members), a club sales area, a silent auction, Junior games and an area for kids to polish a Petoskey stone. The opening day is focused on elementary classes, 2nd through 5th grades, from Holland, West Ottawa and surrounding area schools as well as home-school families. All these students plus their teachers and chaperons attend at no cost. Show attendance over the last several years has ranged from 2100 to 3000 individuals.
For decades the Club has purchased and donated books on minerals, fossils, and lapidary to Holland’s Herrick District Library’s collection and more recently, Zeeland’s Howard Miller Library, as memorials to deceased members. (To the right is a display placed at the Howard Miller Library some time ago.) This has developed a substantial collection to which the entire community has access and may be borrowed.
In 2005 the Club created a “Geology Trail” at the DeGraaf Nature Center. This installation consists of 13 large rock specimens set in cement with an identification sign by each rock and a 6-page handout that describes the nature of the specimens in fuller detail. The handouts are available in the Center.
The Club welcomes all with an interest in the broad area of earth science to consider joining.