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.)
Minerals in the Artist's Palette
Newly opened on November 12, 2022, our latest 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 3, 2023, with cultural credit available for Stetson undergraduates.
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 3, 2023.
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.
This small, ongoing exhibit 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 tell a few stories about these seven captivating stones.
Past Exhibits Archive
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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, Biology) offered a study of spring snails.
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: 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.
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.