Hall of Gems and Minerals Opens

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The newly modernized Hall of Gems and Minerals in the Natural History Building is dedicated by Secretary Leonard Carmichael. Mrs. William F. Foshag, wife of the late curator of geology, cuts the ribbon. Later that year, the newly acquired Hope Diamond, a 44.5 carat blue diamond, was placed on display, spotlighted against a dark-red velvet in "a centrally located, specifically designed case," and immediately became the highlight of the hall.


  • Foshag, Merle Crisler
  • Carmichael, Leonard 1898-1973
  • Winston, Harry 1896-1978
  • Exhibits Modernization Program United States National Museum
  • Hall of Gems and Minerals (Exhibition) (1958: United States National Museum)
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Mineral Sciences
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • United States National Museum
  • Natural History Building


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • The Hope Diamond was received by the National Museum on July 17, 1958 and formally donated to the Smithsonian by gem merchant Harry Winston on November 10, 1958.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1959, p. 45.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


July 31, 1958


  • Openings
  • Architecture
  • Gems
  • Secretaries
  • Repair and reconstruction
  • Exhibit openings
  • Exhibitions
  • Hope diamond
  • Buildings--Repair and reconstruction

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