Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals: Hillsboro’s Own Gem

a detailed image of an amethyst gemstone

Are you an avid thunderegg hunter? Do you light up at the idea of finding sunstones? Our state rock and gemstone are just a few of the fascinating specimens on display at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. The historic site’s extensive collections would fill up a self storage facility in Hillsboro, OR and spill all across Washington County. 

A Home With History

True love gets a lot of credit for the founding of Hillsboro’s Rice Museum. Richard and Helen Rice married in the early 1930s and began collecting agates on Oregon’s coast. Both their love and rock collections flourished, so they built a home to house it all, just north of Hillsboro. They turned their property into a museum a few years later, and the site is now a part of the National Register of Historic Places. 

More Than Minerals and Gems 

The Rice Museum earns its standing as a Smithsonian Affiliate by filling 7,500 square feet with more than 20,000 specimens. When you stop by for a visit, don’t miss these outstanding rock-stars:

  • The world-famous Alma Queen, a brilliant red rhodochrosite crystal
  • An opal-filled, 3,500-pound thunderegg discovered at Opal Butte
  • Rare minerals including papagoite, legrandite and paravauxite
  • More than 460 specimens of petrified wood from across the Pacific Northwest

It’s all enough to make you think twice about those rocks you tossed into a box at your storage unit. The museum is a perfect place to learn more about your casual collection.

From Collector to Rock Hound

If you fall in love with the Rice legacy, the museum can hook you up with other rock hounds. The staff coordinates support for local rock and gem clubs, and they’re an invaluable resource for learning more about your newest passion. Online communities share all kinds of rock collecting advice from where to hunt for obsidian to great deals on self storage for your gear. To complete your conversion from casual collector, join fellow rock hounds on museum-sponsored field trips, fairs and festivals. 

Rock Your Storage Solutions

Every great collection needs a good home especially when it outgrows the house. Put a convenient storage unit in Hillsboro, OR on your list of rock hound must-haves, and come visit our Northwest Self Storage facility. We’re just off Highway 8 on Witch Hazel Road with plenty of room for all your hobbies, and more. When it comes to smart storage solutions, Northwest Self Storage always rocks.

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a detailed image of an amethyst gemstone