Gold fever strikes Museum Village
Museum Village gem show brings out the prospector in us all


Carmelo Sosler, 5, had a great time sifting for fossils (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

By Ginny Privitar
MONROE — Prospector Jack and his partner, Hillbilly John, patiently demonstrated how to pan for gold.
They swirled the contents of small containers filled with tiny gold flakes mixed with sediment and small pebbles. They then spilled out the heavier material until the tiny gold flecks showed up bright in the remaining fine sediment. Best yet, visitors to the Orange County Gem and Mineral Show, held on June 2 and 3 at Museum Village, got to take them home.
The show, hosted by the Orange County Mineral Society, was a big hit. Prospector Jack, aka John Dorval, and Hillbilly John, aka John Clark, belong to Tri-State Gold Prospectors Association of America, which meets at the Cuddebackville Reformed Church on the first Friday of every month. They also make videos about prospecting, which can be seen on the Appalachian Prospectors channel on YouTube.
Visitors also got to use the museum's sluice run to sift a tray that might contain minerals or fossils — their choice.
Carmelo Sosler, 5, attended with parents Nicole and Steve and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Sifting at the sluice run was his favorite activity, he said, especially “when I found all the shark teeth.”
Webelo Scouts, meanwhile, learned about geology from Orange County Mineral Society president Mike Tedford in the museum’s Natural History building.
There were plenty of vendors, too, selling all manner of goods mined or found in the earth, including jewelry made of various materials.
Vendor Derrick Yoost sold minerals, fossils, meteorites and lapidary materials. Yoost, from Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey, said he’s been in the business for about 35 years and has been at the annual show for about ten years.
“I was just interested in stuff, and found out I could buy it and I bought too much, and then I had to start selling stuff,” Yoost said with a laugh.
Willie Stedman from Loads of Nature in Ellenville, N.Y., offered a stunning array of affordable fossils and minerals, including sets of small samples of both, for as little as $12.
The Orange County Mineral Society meets the second Friday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, on Goshen Turnpike, one-half mile south of Route 211.
Ginny Privitar works as a part-time docent at Museum Village.