Gillespie Museum Exhibits


The Gillespie Museum has more than 15,000 rock and mineral specimens in its collection, of which only a portion are on permanent display.  Stored specimens are revealed through rotating exhibits that change either per semester or annually.  The museum also has much to offer beyond rocks and minerals, with exciting new exhibits throughout the academic year representing a diversity of topics that often blur the line between art and science.

(For a complete listing of the museum's online educational resources, including selected exhibit materials, see our Educational Resources Page, or download this comprehensive Overview of Gillespie Museum Online Resources.)

Current Exhibits

Nature Nook web

The Nature Nook

Opening March 12, 2024!  This new permanent exhibit & gallery space features the nature photography of Ray Johnson for the spring semester, along with ongoing touch table, artifacts, & nature activities. In the Rinker Environmental Learning Center (RELC), adjacent to the museum. (Open during regular museum hours except when classes, field trips, and special events are in session.)

Petroglyphics: Stories from the earth event

Petroglyphics: Stories from the Earth by Carolyn J. Haas

Now Open! Come check out our new fall 2023 exhibit of unique rock art creations by Carolyn Haas! Carolyn became fascinated with rocks as a small child, but it wasn't until 2020, that she began to look at the specimens she was collecting with new eyes, discovering images hidden in many of the rocks. Through digital photography, she turned these found cobbles into an evocative art form by using photo-editing software to enhance the natural patterns and textures that were inherent in the stones. Carolyn’s edited images, printed on metal, share a visual similarity to historic petroglyphs created by ancient peoples. Come see for yourself what stories may be surfacing in these unusual rocks! Carolyn Haas resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she loves to explore creeks with her water-loving corgi Emil. Petroglyphics is on display in the museum through May 2024.  Learn more about Carolyn's work on the artist's website.

The Bone Wars exhibit

The Bone Wars: Museums, Fossils, & National Identity by Katie Wedderstrand

Opened April 2023!  The Bone Wars (1870s-1910s) was defined by a competition between two wealthy American paleontologists, Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. With paleontology having its start in Europe, the US Bone Wars helped put American paleontology on par with European paleontology. As fossils were discovered in the American West at unprecedented speeds and often using unethical techniques, they brought renown and identity to the institutions that held them. In the United States, incredible new fossil dinosaur finds represented the grandeur and success of the young nation, and as a result, great competition arose between institutions of the American East and older European institutions to have the best collection. Come check out this new, student-curated exhibit, based on Gillespie Museum staffer Katie Wedderstrand's senior research project. Opening Reception and Gallery Talk was held on Tuesday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and an intro to the new exhibit by Katie. The installation will be on display through December 2023.

Minerals in the Artist's Palette

Minerals in the Artist's Palette

Opened in November 2022, this new exhibit investigates the historic use of minerals for their color properties in creative expression. Before synthetic pigments became readily available in the 19th century, natural pigments - mostly made from ground and powdered minerals mixed with some sort of liquid binder - were the basis of every artist’s paint palette. Come learn about the rainbow of naturally occurring mineral pigments used by prehistoric artists (including our Neanderthal cousins according to recent discoveries!) and by cultures throughout the ages and around the globe to create some of the world's most fascinating and iconic artwork. Full exhibit text is now available. On display through May 2024.

meteorites rocks from space

Meteorites/Rocks from Space

See the museum's collection of space rocks in this out-of-this-world exhibit!  Learn what rock fragments from outer space can reveal about our planet and the solar system in this small display of 15 meteorites and impactites, featuring a huge 62-pound nickel and iron specimen found in South Africa, which was purchased through a Sotheby’s auction in the 1990s.  This exhibit runs through May 2024.

Florida Formations

Florida Formations

Florida Formations is a recent installation in our Florida Gallery that tells the geologic history of the state through its distinctive rock units, and an array of ocean-formed carbonate formations, each with a story to tell us about past environments and past climates. View associated Florida fossils, agatized coral (the state stone of Florida), calcite crystals, and more, in this exciting permanent addition to the Gillespie Museum experience.  

Past Exhibits Archive

Webb Telescope exhibit

Wonders of the Webb Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope launched on December 21, 2021 after more than 20 years in development and construction. The telescope is designed to “see” very dim objects primarily in infrared light which will enable scientists to better understand the origins of the universe. It took several months to prepare and calibrate the telescope once launched, but when the first images were released, the telescope’s abilities far surpassed expectations. In this 2023 exhibit Wonders of the Webb Telescope, visitors could explore our universe through the beautiful color images produced by Webb and learn more about the “star stuff” that we are all made of. It was on display in our Environmental Gallery in the Rinker Environmental Learning Center (RELC), adjacent to the museum.

Storied Stone exhibit

Storied Stone

This small exhibit in our Collector's Gallery ran from 2016 through 2023, and was inspired by Stetson alum Nicholas Pearson's book The Seven Archetypal Stones, which explores some of the fascinating narratives and lessons — geological, historic, cultural, and spiritual — of the world of minerals and crystals.  The display specimens and a guided walk through the museum's collections told a few stories about these seven captivating stones.

2021 Manatee Mortality exhibit

2021 Manatee Mortality in Volusia County, Florida by Casey Ramey

The plight of the Florida manatee and the challenges of conservation efforts in local waters were explored in this important Spring 2022 exhibit by Stetson environmental science and art student Casey Ramey that merges data science with wood art and ceramics to shine a light on increasing manatee mortality rates across our state.

Earth Monument of Florida

Earth Monument of Florida by Alan Sonfist

Pioneering land artist Alan Sonfist's Earth Monument of Florida was on display in the Gillespie Museum from March - December 2021, as part of a collaborative exhibit between the Gillespie and Stetson's Hand Art Center entitled "Earth Pandemic."  This geological artwork is a piece from Sonfist's landmark "Corings" series, developed between 1971-2012. You can now listen to the March 2021 recorded Stetson Interview & Artist Talk with Alan Sonfist.  Also, visit the Hand Art Center whose associated display featured some of Sonfist's other works.  You can learn more about Alan Sonfist's art on his website.

Multilingual sculpture artist Cindy Leung; Leung's work sample

On the Road by Cindy Leung

Cindy Leung is a multilingual sculpture artist who uses porcelain, silk, and tea to create hybrid objects that explore identity through the interplay of linguistics and colonialism in a post-structuralist way. The Gillespie Museum presented an exhibit of Cindy Leung's unique ceramic works from her latest sculpture collection “A Borrowed Place on Borrowed Time.” This exhibit, entitled On the Road, was on display in the museum from September 15-December 3, 2021.

Naturally Dyed Textiles

Naturally Dyed Textiles by Kayla Powers

This Spring 2021 exhibit Naturally Dyed Textiles was on display in our Environmental Gallery in the Rinker Environmental Learning Center (RELC), adjacent to the museum, from February 1-March 26. Kayla Powers is a weaver and natural dyer from Detroit Michigan, and her work focuses on local, natural color derived from plants - foraged from and cultivated in the city. Watch Powers' virtual Artist Talk and Natural Dye Demonstration from her Stetson visit!

Florida Stewards

Florida Stewards by Dustin Angell

Florida Stewards were the Spring 2020 inaugural exhibit in Gillespie's new Environmental Gallery of the Rinker Environmental Learning Center, adjacent to the museum. Environmental educator and conservation photographer Dustin Angell highlights the people working to protect the wildlands and wildlife of Florida in stunning images that document the science and conservation challenges of the region by showing the people trying to solve them.

Agatized Coral exhibit

Agatized Coral

The Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 exhibit Agatized Coral and Other Silicified Fossils continued our exploration into Florida's unique geology. Featuring Florida's state stone, this was a diverse and stunning assemblage drawn from the personal collections of experienced Florida geologists Sam Upchurch and Gary Maddox. The display provided a unique opportunity to view an array of rare agatized and silicified corals, and other silicified fossils, and to learn about the local origins, formation, and distribution of these natural wonders.

Florida Calcite exhibit

Florida Calcite

This Spring 2019 exhibit ran from February 21 to May 3, 2019, and featured a sample of some of Florida's most striking and rare calcite specimens from the personal collection of Tom Scott, Ph.D., Emeritus Geologist, Florida Geological Survey. Florida Calcite provided a unique opportunity to view uncommon specimens of our state's unofficial mineral, calcite, including a range of speleothems (cave-formed structures), such as stalactites, cave pearls, helictites, and cave flowers from world-renowned Florida calcite collecting localities.

a better nectar exhibit

a better nectar

Visual artist Jessica Rath, with collaborator Robert Hoehn (composer and sound designer), created an immersive, human-scaled, multisensory experience using sculptural forms, light, and sound to explore how bumblebees learn and remember floral symbols to find better nectar. Co-hosted by the Gillespie Museum and the Hand Art Center, a better nectar ran from January 26 through March 3, 2018.

Aquatic Gems exhibit

Aquatic Gems

Aquatic Gems was a small exhibit featuring some perspectives on H2O which was in our Florida Gallery from September 24, 2016, through May 5, 2017. Robert Sitler (professor, of Modern Languages) provided a video tour of a variety of sites in our watershed; Kirsten Work (professor of biology) offered a study of spring snails.

Sandhill Symphony exhibit

Sandhill Symphony: A Natural History of The High Pine

Over 300 images, taken by Stetson University Professor Peter May (biology), Sandhill Symphony introduced visitors to the flora and fauna of this vanishing ecosystem. View Peter's blog and online gallery Volusia Naturalist, featuring a sampling of his photos, representative of the September 26, 2015, to May 4, 2016, exhibit.

A Passion for Collecting

A Passion for Collecting: The Legacy of T.B. and Nellie Gillespie

Learn about T.B. and Nellie Gillespie's lifelong love for mineral collecting and how their hobby led to the eventual creation of the Gillespie Museum. This exhibit included historical documents and pictures, many minerals from the historic collection, a timeline depicting the museum from birth to the present day, and much more!  View the informational exhibit handout.

60th Anniversary Slideshow

Celebrating 60 Years

The Gillespie Museum celebrated its 60th Anniversary in the fall of 2018, with a collection of "postcards" that told the museum's story through photographs and pages from the archives. The 60th Anniversary Slideshow compiles the exhibit images to highlight the people and history behind this unique place and the evolution of the Gillespie Museum mission.