Tag Archives: minerals

Finding a diamond in the rough

David Friend Hall Opening

How my team at Greenough helped shape and tell the story of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History’s 150th anniversary

On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History sought to do two things: 1) To change the perception that natural history museums have remained unchanged and stuck in the past since their founding; and 2) To present itself as the preeminent museum for gems and minerals with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art gem and mineral gallery, David Friend Hall.

Greenough saw this as a perfect opportunity to increase institutional awareness and reposition the organization as an innovative, forward-thinking natural history museum. We developed a long-lead, national media strategy to enhance the institution’s reputation, increase visibility, and reframe the Museum to shift public perception.

To do this, we conducted in-depth research in the natural history museum field and held input meetings with Peabody leadership to gain a better understanding of their vision and goals. We then developed a comprehensive media strategy founded on proactive, long-lead outreach to priority media to meet the Peabody’s objectives.

We began executing this strategy by crafting a core set of key messages that conveyed the Peabody’s vision for the sesquicentennial and beyond, and the importance of David Friend Hall to the Peabody, the natural history museum and science community, and the greater public. We then created an inventory of possible story angles to reach the broadest audiences across varying outlets such as science, mineral and gem, art, museum, philanthropy and lifestyle trades as well as national and local cultural coverage.

DSC_0451Once those initial pieces were in place, Greenough conducted a national media campaign, securing more than 75 pieces of coverage spanning national top tier daily news outlets, local Connecticut publications, science and mineral trades, and philanthropy and cultural trade publications. The Wall Street Journal published a stunning review of the institution, USA Today named David Friend Hall one of the “12 best U.S. museum exhibits to see this fall,Rock & Gem featured David Friend Hall as the cover story of the October issue, and Connecticut Magazine developed a 2,000-word, 9-page spread, feature article. Our resulting coverage had the potential to reach a print circulation of more than 2.1 million readers, and our online coverage had the potential to garner a total of nearly 153 million monthly unique impressions.

So we were able to increase institutional awareness and raise visibility, but did we shift perceptions and highlight the Peabody’s stellar collection? The answer is yes. In each piece of coverage, each author makes a note of the institution’s innovations and underscores its relevancy now more than ever.

For example, Wall Street Journal critic at large, Ed Rothstein wrote,

“The museum is remarkably free of commercial clamor and condescension, and free too of the political posturing that can make it feel as if curators were wagging fingers through display cases. The Peabody re-establishes the natural history museum as the domain of impassioned collectors and teachers.”

As a result of this strategic public relations campaign, the Peabody has seen a steady and consistent increase in the number of visitors to the Museum. During the opening month, attendance increased 45% from the previous October, and November and December continued with a 17% and 10% increase, respectively.

We are pleased to see our efforts directly impact attendance numbers and shape the public’s perception of the Peabody. And, as an added bonus, Greenough was awarded honorable mention for the 2017 PR News Nonprofit PR Awards.

So, just as a diamond needs to be polished to find its inherent brilliance, so too, do institutions need to revamp their messaging and have a strong, strategic PR program to ensure they stand out and shine.

This article first appeared on the Greenough blog on March 22, 2017. 

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An introduction to mineralogy

Maria Kucinski

I have recently had the opportunity to explore the subject of mineralogy while working with the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History on their state-of-the-art gem and mineral gallery, David Friend Hall, opening this fall. When offered the chance to attend the East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show in West Springfield, I, along with my colleague Bri Tarpey, eagerly set out for Western Mass. to learn about these wondrous mineral specimens, which I have come to realize are like sculptures formed by the earth.

Bob Jones

Bri and I had the honor of hearing Bob Jones, a prolific mineralogist for which a mineral is named after him (Bobjonesite), speak about the new David Friend Hall at Yale. He discussed how he was inspired by Yale’s mineral collection in 1937 and how the new hall aims to continue to spark curiosity with its contemporary display and remarkable specimens (including the 4,000 pound Chinese fluorite with quartz secured by Cap Beesley). Bob explained how David Friend Hall represents the next chapter in the Peabody’s 150-year history as it builds on Yale’s unique mineralogical history which began with Benjamin Silliman and James Dwight Dana.

Peter Megaw Fluorite and Celestine Minas El Tule & Ilusion Melchor Muzquiz Area Coahuila

Following Bob Jones’ talk, Bri and I ventured into the beautifully curated Peter Megaw Collection from Mexico. As novices, it became evident to us that minerals are extraordinary in their shape, color, texture, and variations. Above, fluorite and celestine come together to create these cubic specimens of purple on a white ground.

Peter Megaw Secondary lead minerals Mina Ojuela Mapimi Durango

From the perfectly structured fluorite to the more organic-looking “secondary lead minerals” such as wulfenite, mimette, and cerusite.

Peter Megaw Smithsonite and...8th level mina San Antonio Santa Eulalla District Chihuaua

Here is a group of otherworldly-looking specimens of smithsonite.

Peter Megaw Rhodochrosite 10th Level Mina el Potosi Santa Eulalla District Chihuahua

Finally, the mineral that has obviously caught my eye is the rhodochrosite. It is pink (or what some people may call red) and comes in various shades and forms.

Geokrazy Minerals Rhodochrosite

After finishing up at the Peter Megaw collection, we decided to take a closer look and scope out the selection of minerals available for sale. A dealer showed me a few specimens of rhodochrosite and demonstrated how they sparkled under the light.

Geokrazy Minerals Rhodochrosite

Although these specimens were stunning, I thought I should start my mineral collection a little less ambitiously…(the price listed is $7,500).

East Coast Gem Mineral and Fossil Show Bri Tarpey

So Bri and I kept looking for those specimens which expert collectors advised, “speak to you,” as if spurting lines from a Marie Kondo book.

Geokrazy Minerals Thumbnail specimens

Finally, we came across some “thumbnail” specimens that would fit our needs. I found a perfectly pink and delicate rhodochrosite on quartz and Bri spotted a sharp, orange wulfenite. They are mementos to our journey to the East Coast Show and to proving that museums continue to inspire the desire to learn.

Rhodochrosite on quartz

All in all, with my collection officially started, I’m excited to continue learning more about minerals and sharing that excitement with others.

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