Rice Rock Museum in Oregon | Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Ok, Which Way?


Rice Rock Museum in Oregon

Opening in 1997, the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals is home to a master collection of crystals, gems, meteorites, fossils, and petrified wood from all of the world. If you enjoy earth science, this Smithsonian Affiliate museum is a must see.

Technically, it’s called the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals. But, who’s going to say all that? We just call it the Rice Rock Museum or even the Rock Museum.


Location: Hillsboro, Oregon, not far off Highway 26 at the Helvetia/Brookwood Parkway exit
Days Closed: Monday and Tuesday
Fees: There is a cost to visit the museum, check here for current pricing


Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals sign | Ok, Which Way?

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Location & Home

The museum is located in rural Hillsboro and can be seen from Highway 26. On a clear day, Mt Hood can be seen in the distance.

Rice Rock Museum in Hillsboro, Oregon | Ok, Which Way?


The ranch style home, turned museum, was built in 1952 by rockhounds, Richard & Helen Rice. The home is built of myrtle wood and quilted maple, with an exterior of sandstone and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The 3,682 square foot basement was reserved for their personal collection of rocks and minerals – which we can still see today.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | 1950's home | Ok, Which Way?


There are even rocks outside, including this large quartz piece found in Arkansas.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Quartz | Ok Which Way


Main Gallery 

The main gallery is on the lower level of the main house and contains a staggering number of crystals and minerals.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Main Gallery | Ok Which Way


The gallery not only has items on display, but also informational areas, like this visual representation of the hardness scale of minerals.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Ok Which Way


Alma Rose

One of the most famous pieces at the Rock Museum is the rare and spectacular Alma Rose rhodochrosite.

Larger, but similar to the Alma Rose, the Alma King, was once owned by Richard and Helen Rice. Both specimens were mined out of Alma, Colorado. The Alma King is now on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Alma Rose | Ok Which Way
Alma Rose rhodochrosite


Rainbow Gallery

The Rainbow Gallery is always a favorite. Under shortwave and longwave florescent lights, the natural minerals seem to glow.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Rainbow Gallery | Ok Which Way


Dennis & Mary Murphy Petrified Wood Gallery

This gallery contains petrified items collected by Dennis and Mary Murphy from all over the world.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Petrified wood | Ok Which Way


Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Pinecone fossil | Ok Which Way
Pinecone fossil


Northwest Gallery

Located in a separate building is the Rudy Tschernich Northwest Mineral Gallery. It features Oregon’s state rock and state gem.


Oregon’s state rock

Most thundereggs are about the size of your fist, but as you enter this building you are greeted by a huge, 1.7 ton opal filled thunderegg found in Morrow County, Oregon.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | 1 ton thunderegg | Ok Which Way


Thundereggs were formed within volcanic ash layers, so it makes sense they are rather dull on the outside. The outer shell was formed inside gas pockets. Then as silica rich water and other minerals continuously seeped into the cavities cores of jasper, agate, opal, or zeolites were created.

Until the rock is sliced in half, it’s a mystery as to what the core looks like. More often than not, it’s not too impressive. But, sometimes the result is a beautiful and unique gem.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Thunderegg | Ok Which Way
Thunderegg: dull rock on the outside, beautiful gem on the inside


Oregon’s State Gem


Oregon Sunstones were formed deep within a magma chamber of a volcano, where they then erupted onto the surface and cooled in a basalt lava flow. These gems can contain elemental copper that create a metallic shimmer.

Native Americans valued Sunstone crystals, using them in Medicine Wheel ceremonies and trading them as currency.

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Oregon SunStone | Ok Which Way



I highly recommend this museum if you are interested in natural science. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day in Oregon.




I’m not sure if it’s still on location, but years ago a letterbox was hidden inside the Rock Museum.

Letterboxing | Hillsboro, Oregon | Ok Which Way

Thinking About Visiting the Rice Rock Museum?

Pin This to Help Plan Your Trip ⬇

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals | Rice Rock Museum in Oregon | Earth Science | Ok Which Way


Corporate Meeting Space in Hillsboro, Oregon





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