BETHEL, Maine — Bethel is a small town in Oxford County, known primarily by Mainers for bordering the Sunday River Ski Resort. But on Friday, a local museum announced a new treasure -- from 238,900 miles away.
In honor of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969, the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum has unveiled the largest piece of the Moon ever to fall to Earth. The Associated Press reports the artifact weighs in at 59 kilograms -- or almost 128 pounds.
The 50 year anniversary commemoration was held at a special preview event on Friday, July 19 at the museum. Hundreds came out to watching the unveiling, see a 3-D projection mapping of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and listen to music performances.
MMGM says its 'Stifler Collection' is a collection of more pieces of the Moon than the 10 leading science museums around the world. The museum also has specimens from Mars, extraterrestrial gemstones, and more than 50,000 terrestrial gems and minerals.
“We started this museum to have the largest collection of Maine minerals, gemstones, and historical material anywhere in the world, and we’ve exceeded it," said founder Dr. Lawrence Stifler. "We’re excited for the amount of scientific research and education that this museum will bring to the community, and visitors from all over the world when we officially open later this summer."
MMGM is a nonprofit, dedicated to celebrating the mineralogy of Maine and teaching visitors about the origin of the Earth.