The Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum

Image of the Historic Pima County Court building which now houses the Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum

The UA Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum

The Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum has set up shop in the Historic Pima County Courthouse. To coincide with the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, the museum had its grand opening on February 3rd. This building is nearly complete with its $30 million restoration, $17,000 of that was crowdsource funding from the Tucson community. The January 8th Memorial stands outside to the West. No detail is spared and it’s a feast for the eyes before you even get into the museum proper.

Large Quartz on display at the Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum
This specimen is one of the finest large crystal quartz clusters ever found.

Once inside you are immediately enrapt with one of the largest quartz crystals you will ever see in person. The museum has 3 main sections that, much like Ikea, if you keep moving, you’ll eventually see everything. The layout is broken up into 3 areas of interest, the Mineral Evolution Gallery, the Arizona Gallery, and the Gem Gallery.

The Mineral Evolution Gallery

Fossilized skull at the Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum
Sabretooth cat skull.

This gallery grounds you (pun intended,) in the components that make up our world. Here you’ll find the minerals, meteorites, and fossils responsible for the geoformation of earth. Explore the history as you wander past beautifully designed display cases and molecular models.

The Arizona Gallery

Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum Blacklight Room
Minerals found in AZ under blacklight.

As you may have guessed, this gallery focuses on the vast mineral resources of Arizona and also Mexico. Besides seeing what came out of the ground the gallery walks you through the mining process complete with tools and the historical process.

The Gem Gallery

Display piece in the jewelry gallery at the Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral MuseumIf you are a fan of shiny jewelry this is the gallery for you. As you walk through, it walks you through the different cuts and classifications of gems. You can play with a spectroscope to determine which minerals are under the magnifying glass. The jewelry room is simply breathtaking, and the grand finale is a tapestry made from cut precious gems.

Before You Go

When you decide that it’s time to check out the Alphie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum here are the basics you need to know.



Address: 115 N Church Avenue
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday
10 am-4 pm, last tickets sold at 3
Admission: $15 Adults (ages 13-64)
$10 Seniors (ages 65+) & Active Military (with I.D.)
$5 Children (ages 4-12) & Arizona College Students (with I.D.)