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Jack Murphy
(1942-    )

Jack A____ Murphy, long-time curator of minerals at the Denver Museum of Natural History, was born in November 1942 in Denver Colorado, the son of Beth and John Murphy, a wildlife photographer. He became interested in minerals as a child, on trips to Silverton, Colorado with his parents, where they heard stories from the old miners, visited collections, and collected minerals underground. His family moved back to Denver from Estes Park when Jack was 13, giving him more opportunities to spend time t the Denver Museum of Natural History where his grandfather, Alfred M. Bailey, was Director. Geology Curator, Harvey Markman nurtured Jack's interest in collecting and exhibiting, giving him many mineral specimens and then insisting that Jack catalog them properly.

Jack worked at a volunteer and collections assistant at the Denver Museum while in college, and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley in 1967. He taught Earth Science and Biology in the Moffat County Schools for two years, and was then hired to take over Harvey Markman's position as Curator of Geology at the Denver Museum in 1969. In 1994 he earned his M.A. in Earth Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Universityof Colorado, Denver in 2000. In 2001 he received the Distinguished Public Service in Earth Science Award from the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and also the William R. Ross Award for Science from the University of Northern Colorado.

During Jack's career at the Museum he modernized the department, developed policies facilitating public access to the collections,.and acquired important minerals and meteorites for the Museum's Coors Mineral Hall (installed in three large crystal cavity reconstructions). Over the years he directed a variety of collections and research projects, educational programs, and field trips, and produced 69 public and professional publications for journals such as The Mineralogical Record, Lapidary Journal, The Denver Museum of Natural History Annual Report, Canadian Mineralogist, Rocks & Minerals, Meteorites & Planetary Science, U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin, and Museum Quarterly. He helped compile the compendius Minerals of Colorado (1997), helped found the Colorado Friends of Mineralogy chapter, and was instrumental in founding Friends of Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado. He is a life member of the Colorado Mineral Society, served for two years as a Councilor for the Colorado Scientific Society and for two years as President of the national Friends of Mineralogy as well as serving as President of the local Friends of Mineralogy, Colorado Chapter. His Colorado Fireball and Meteorite Project, begun in 2000, seeks to locate and document historical and scientific data on Colorado's 90 known meteorites.

Since his retirement from the Museum in 2004, after 35 years as curator, Jack has been involved in consulting work, meteorite investigations, and the renovation of the meteorite exhibits at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum. He continues to provide lectures, classes, tours, and field trips for local organizations, and helps with the free-to-the-public mineral and meteorite identification service at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Geology Museum at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Jack Murphy Jack Murphy
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