Our museums remain closed due to COVID-19. While LA County Public Health has entered Phase 3 of the Roadmap to Recovery, allowing for the reopening of museums on June 12, our museums are still slowly welcoming back staff and are in the process of planning for new health and safety protocols in our galleries and gardens. Therefore, we will not be reopening until later in the summer. Sign up here to be the first to know when we will safely re-open to the public and in the meantime, stay connected from home.

Mineral Sciences

mesolite, radiating crystals

The Mineral Sciences collections include minerals, rocks, meteorites, gems, and related synthetic materials. The mineral collection is world-wide in scope and boasts particular strengths in minerals from California, native gold, and gem crystals. The collections are being actively augmented principally through purchases and donations.

There are approximately 150,000 specimens, including more than 140,000 minerals, nearly 100,000 of which are micromounts, 3,000 rocks, 3,000 gems, and 50 meteorites. Approximately half of all known mineral species are represented in the collections.


The collection supports research in a variety of areas in materials science, climate science, pharmaceuticals, environmental remediation, petroleum science, ore deposits, exobiology, bio-mineralogy, and general mineralogical research.  

Our research laboratory has been on public display since 2017.  All experimental stations, collections, and equipment are on view and scientific content is communicated to the visitor by signage, gallery interpreter engagement, video, and social media to our more than 800,000 visitors a year.

The lab includes the following analytical equipment:

  • Raman Microscopy
  • X-ray Fluorescence Microscope 
  • X-ray Diffraction - Single Crystal 
  • X-ray Diffraction - Powder 

Search our Collections

Search the collection by name, variety, or locality. 

Our Staff

Dr. Aaron Celestian, Ph.D.
Curator, Mineral Sciences

Dr. Celestian’s currently researches how minerals interact with their environments and with living things, and how those minerals can be used to solve problems like climate change, pollution, and disease.

Anthony R. Kampf, Ph.D.
Curator Emeritus, Mineral Sciences

Dr. Kampf joined the Natural History Museum staff in January 1977, immediately after earning his Ph.D. in mineralogy and crystallography from the University of Chicago.

Alyssa R. Morgan, M.S.
Collections Manager, Mineral Sciences

Alyssa received her bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences from the University of Washington and her master’s degree in Geological Sciences from Brown University.


Aaron Celestian

Alyssa Morgan
Collections Manager

Anthony Kampf
Curator Emeritus

For information on how to join or renew your membership with the Gem and Mineral Council, contact us at 213.763.3326 or by e-mailing Dr. Aaron Celestian, Curator of Mineral Sciences, at acelestian@nhm.org or Alyssa Morgan, Mineral Sciences Collections Manager, at amorgan@nhm.org.

Follow us on Instagram @nhmla_gems.