to show his rock collection at open house
Helen E. McKinney
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (December 2002) Charles Oldham is
a geologist by profession, a rock hound by choice.
I have been actively collecting since I was 14, said the
Crestwood, Ky., resident of his obsession for rocks, minerals and gems.
This hobby turned profession led Oldham to become a charter member of
the Kentuckiana Geological Society in 1964.
and his rock collection
Oldham, 52, cant remember a time when he wasnt
interested in rocks. This interest became entwined with art when he
attended a school in Georgia where he learned the basics of glass bead
designing, glass fusing and wiring.
Not only does he study and collect rocks, he also crafts exquisite jewelry
from his rare finds.
Oldhams intent interest with earth sciences has led him to be
a past show chairman for the Kentuckiana Geological Societys annual
Mineral, Gem and Fossil Show, held Nov. 8-10 in Louisville, Ky.
This educational event showcased 12 dealers, all of whom displayed fossils,
minerals, jewelry, polished gem stones and lapidary supplies. Oldham
said the show draws interested people from several surrounding states,
the farthest having traveled from Michigan.
Society president Milt Leet said mineral shows such as this take place
throughout the year and draw upon individuals like Oldham that have
informative programs to present to the public during other times of
the year. Oldham said he has worked with school groups and scouts to
educate them about the Earths treasures.
Meeting on the third Tuesday of every month, the society sponsors programs
that feature slide presentations, speakers, exhibits or discussions
to inform and stimulate an interest in some aspect of geology. The society
also holds seminars, workshops and training sessions to educate others
about the earth sciences.
Leet said Oldham is a very influential and knowledgeable individual.
He works hard to show the educational side of things. Hes very
open to presenting his knowledge to people in training sessions, general
conversations or informal programs.
Leet said Oldham is one of a diversified bunch of people with an interest
in earth sciences that comprise the Kentuckiana Geological Society.
Monthly field trips for the society range in location from museums and
glassworks factories to dig sites.
The group tries to spark an interest in children by participating in
the annual Falls of the Ohio Fossil Festival in Clarksville, Ind., where
they demonstrate how to make gem trees and provide small rock starter
collections to children, said Leet. The Falls of the Ohio, a naturally
exposed 220-acre Devonian fossil bed, is a natural setting for geologists
Born in Ohio but having lived most of his life in Kentucky, Oldham currently
works as a geologist for the state of Kentucky in the Department for
Surface Mining. Oldham, who has written several short books about his
interest, plans to one day write several extensive books on it.
For the past two years he has been the editor of MAPS (Mid-American
Paleontology Society) Digest, for which he has contributed many articles.
Oldham will share his knowledge of rocks with the public again on Dec.
7-8, when he will hold an open house on his property at 7405 W. Hwy.
22 in Crestwood, Ky. His craftsmanship will be displayed for sale in
an adjacent art studio.
Betty Hansel has been friends with Oldham for the past decade and assists
him in this open house. I really enjoy doing it, she said.
While Hansel was a teacher at Price Elementary School in Jefferson County,
Ky., Oldham came into her classroom to give presentations and bring
rock kits to inform the children about minerals, fossils and rocks.
She said the children really enjoyed this, feeling afterwards a natural
connection with the earth.
Hansel said that Oldham has spent most of his life collecting rocks
and fossils. His open house is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon
viewing specimens and meeting new people, said Leet.
A fire will be built in the fireplace inside the studio Oldham built
himself. Hot cider will be served in what Hansel termed a warm and inviting,
unique center for people to gather in.
In the past, Oldham has held an annual Christmas party for friends,
in addition to holding a separate open house. He said he decided to
combine the two events now that he has a shop built to display his mineral
and fossil cases, giving the open house more of a party atmosphere.
The public is welcomed to attend this open house from 10 a.m.
to 6 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 7, and from 1 - 6 pm. on Sunday, Dec. 8. For
more information call Oldham at (502) 241-8755.
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