Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Where Is Gold Found?

    by James Nottage, Eiteljorg chief curatorial officer | Mar 16, 2015

    Letter sheet_image01
    Miners Weighing Their Gold,
    ca. 1855
    Image courtesy of Richard Rogers

    Gold has been found throughout the world and in nearly every state, including Indiana. In the 1960s, submicroscopic gold began to be processed from ground where it was essentially invisible. Modern technology makes it possible to extract such minute quantities. Historically, gold has been found and processed from different settings and in different forms. Gold can be in the form of timeworn nuggets, grains like sand, in crystal forms, and embedded in quartz and other minerals.

    The yellow markers on the map below indicate significant gold strikes in the United States dating back to 1828.

    Gold_ map of North America

    Map of North America, 1849
    Charles Smith
    Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division; G3300 1849 .S6 TIL

    A Few Terms 

    Alluvial deposits consist of clay, silt, sand, gravel, gold, or other mineral or unconsolidated material deposited gradually over time by flowing water. 

    A bar is a bank of sand, gravel, or other material at the mouth of a river, or similar gold-bearing material in the slack portion of a stream. Individual bars sometimes bear colorful names such as Rich Bar or Indian Bar.  

    Gold placers are areas of sand or gravel containing gold nuggets and/or coarse, medium, fine, very fine, and the almost powdery flour gold. Placer mining is done by washing dirt from the deposit to separate the heavier gold from the other materials. 

    High grade refers to especially rich ore or to selectively mining the best ore in a deposit.  

    A lode is a mineral deposit (gold) in solid rock. 

    A matrix is the rock that contains the lode (minerals or ore).

    Veins are fissures, faults, or cracks in a rock filled with minerals that have traveled upward from some deep source in the earth.




  • What Is Gold?

    by James Nottage, Eiteljorg chief curatorial officer | Mar 16, 2015


    Selling Off [Gold], 1849
    Augusto Ferran (Artist), Luis Marquier (Lithographer)
    Image courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; BANC PIC 1963.002:0885--B

    Gold is an element represented by the atomic symbol designation Au. This yellow-colored metal is very heavy—15 to 19.3 times heavier than an equal volume of water. Gold is malleable and can be cut with a knife. It will not dissolve in nitric, hydrochloric, or sulfuric acid.

    The beauty of gold and the ease with which it can be fashioned into jewelry and other objects helps to give it value. It is so rare and difficult to find that the demand is greater than the supply available.

    What Is the Value of Gold?

    Between the 1790s and the early 1930s, the price of gold was set at about $20 per ounce. In 1934 it was increased to $35 per ounce. Today, the price is not regulated by the government and is currently about $1,200 per ounce.

    Gold in quartz
    Loan courtesy of The Collector’s Edge Mineral

    A Few Terms

    Assay is the testing or analyzing of ore to determine the quantity of gold in it. Chemical or other methods are used to measure the amount of valuable metal contained in a specimen.

    Bullion is an unrefined gold mixture that has been melted and cast into a bar.

    Fineness is the proportion of pure gold expressed in parts per thousand. Thus, 925 fine gold indicates that 925 parts out of 1,000, or 92.5%, is pure gold.

    Karat is a unit for measuring the fineness of gold. Pure gold is 24K. A 14-karat (14K) gold designation indicates a composition that is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals.


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  • Intern Perspective | I'm like a Gold Rush Prospector - and you are too

    by Nicole Neuman, Eiteljorg events intern | Mar 05, 2015
    Eiteljorg gold spanish flat

    Spanish Flat, ca. 1852
    Photographer: Joseph B. Starkweather
    Image courtesy of the California State Library, California History Room
    This is just one of the historical images that will be featured in our new Gold! exhibit opening Mar. 7

    What would you do to pursue a better life? What would you be willing to give up? The life of a gold prospector was one of uncertainty and sacrifice, but also of passion and determination. The newest exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum, Gold! Riches and Ruin, tells the stories of many of these fortune seekers and their search for gold during three historic gold rushes.

    The more that I have learned about gold rushes and the people that participated in Nicole Neuman - gold events internthem, the more I can relate. I haven’t panned for any gold, but I can understand the drive these adventurers had. Truly anyone who has wanted something so bad that they have given up the comfort of stability for adventure can in some way relate. As a college student, I left home to earn a degree, all so that I could have the chance to discover my passions. My journey led me from Michigan to Indiana to Germany and back again, with many more places in between. I have grown as a result of my choices, both good and bad, met some incredible people, and I am learning what the "gold" is in my life.

    Most recently I have been interning at the Eiteljorg. I am currently helping plan the opening party for the Gold! Riches and Ruin exhibit, happening on Mar. 6. The opening party will give everyone a little taste of that desire for gold without because we will be hosting a Gold Rush right here in Indy! Everyone will have the opportunity to tour the new exhibit, and try to find “gold” with the help of some of our very own ‘49ers. All attendees are eligible to win the Lika Behar 24K/Oxidized Silver Champagne Diamond at 0.27ct and Ruby at 2.14ct Drop Necklace by participating in the gold rush. An additional $20 will buy you the chance to pan for gold and possibly win a Nanis 18KY 7-8” 2 Chain Satin Bead & Satin Bead Station Bracelet. Both items were donated by G. Thrapp Jewelers and are valued over $2,000 each.      
    Nicole Neuman - gold jewelry 1Nicole Neuman - gold jewelry necklace 2 My own project is a gold panning activity that will give interested attendees the opportunity to test their skills as prospectors. We will see who will find riches, and who will find only ruin.

    In addition to these great activities, there will also be a hearty feast of chuck wagon delights and some drinks at the watering hole. And of course no party is complete without some music - everyone will be able to enjoy some bluegrass tunes. I hope to see you there!

    The Gold! Riches and Ruin Opening Party and Gold Rush is on Mar. 6 at the Eiteljorg Museum.

    To purchase tickets for the opening party, please visit:

    For more information visit:!-riches-and-ruin

     Gold sponsors

    Go comment!

  • Don't Miss the Eiteljorg's First Bridal Planning Workshop

    by Heather Frank, Eiteljorg events | Feb 16, 2015


    If you are recently engaged, you’re probably freaking out about what you need to do in order to plan for your special day.

    Unless you're a wedding planner, you have no idea where to start.
    Where do you find the vendors?
    Who's going to deejay the party?
    And -- OMG -- what about flowers?

    And -- when you start to meet with potential vendors you may also need some guidance.. And -- that’s where we come in!

    I want to encourage you to attend the Eiteljorg's FREE Bridal Planning Workshop Saturday, Feb. 28. You will  hear from a panel of industry experts who will answer all your wedding-related questions, and give you tips on how to plan all of the meticulous details for your big day!

    We will have panel members representing venues, floral, entertainment, photography, planning and catering and more-all very important pieces to planning the big day! We want you to feel confident and empowered to plan your own or help with a friend's wedding!

    By attending "You're Engaged! Now what?", you will have access to exclusive discounts and deals within the Eiteljorg and with some of our panel vendors. There will also be a few drawings for some amazing prizes - like a complimentary Engagement Session with Kristin Hornberger Photography and a one-night stay at a beautiful downtown Indianapolis hotel!

    And just to note, in addition to this workshop being complimentary to our attendees, we will also validate attendee parking in the White River State Park underground garage, and give you discounts in the Museum Store and Café!

    Hope to see you at the Eiteljorg's first bridal planning workshop Saturday, Feb. 28. Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. and the fun starts at 10 a.m.

    Our panel of vendors include:
    engaged - kahns 1
    Kahn's Catering
    engaged - deejay
    Jim Cerone, The Perfect Host (deejay/hosting services)
    engaged - flowers1
    Pam Parker, JP Parker Flowers
    engaged - photography
    Kristin Hornberger, Kristin Hornberger Photography                                
    engaged - eventfull
    Laura Lim, Eventfull Planning                    

    To register and get more information, check out the following:

    - Eiteljorg Museum rentals website:

    - Eiteljorg Events Facebook page:

    If you haven’t already “liked” our Facebook page, be sure to so you can stay tuned for updates and highlights regarding the workshop!

    engaged - eiteljorg shotSpace is limited so register today! Find us on where you can register for complimentary tickets:

    About the Bridal Workshop Organizer:
    My name is Heather Frank and for more than seven years now I have been in the events, tourism and hospitality industry. I’ve loved every bit of it! I have worked at different venues assisting with hundreds of events including corporate, private and weddings. I have been a member of the International Special Event Society (ISES) for over two years, and I am unbelievably honored to be a brand new Board member for Wish Upon A Wedding.

    I’ve been with the Eiteljorg Museum for almost three years now assisting with a variety of events and it has been a true joy! The staff, vendors and clients I get a chance to work with make my job exciting!

    I am from Indianapolis and I graduated with a B.S. in tourism management and hospitality from Indiana University. In 2014, I married the love of my life and we live in Indianapolis with our cat Julio.

    We hope to see you there!

    Go comment!

  • The Emancipation of Slavery | Learn all about the Indiana Experience Saturday

    by Alisa Nordholdt-Dean, Eiteljorg public programs manager | Feb 16, 2015

    Even though Abraham Lincoln effectively ended slavery when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, freedom wasn’t within reach for many until years later. In the days prior to televisions and smart phones, it could be years before important information touched the borderlands. In geographically isolated Texas, news of the end of the Civil War did not reach Galveston Island until May of 1865.GENERAL ORDERS In June of that year, Union General Gordon Granger read aloud the contents of “General Order No. 3” to Galveston residents, announcing the total emancipation of slaves. This historic moment has come to be known – and celebrated – in the years since as Juneteenth or Emancipation Day.

    On Saturday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m., learn more about the progression of emancipation during the Leon Jett Memorial Lecture, Moving Toward Freedom: The Process of Black Emancipation. Dr. Modupe Labode, assistant professor of history and museum studies, public scholar of African American history and museums and adjunct professor of African American and African diaspora studies at IUPUI, will give a historical overview of the growth of emancipation with particular emphasis on the Indiana experience. Galveston native, Fay Williams will add to the discussion by sharing personal stories about life in the place where Juneteenth began.*

     Also, mark your calendars for June 20, 2015, and plan to join the Eiteljorg and partners Asante Children’s Theater, Freetown Village, the Black Cowboy Association, Indiana African American Genealogy Group, the Indiana History Center, the Indiana State Museum, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Madame Walker Theatre, the Crispus Attucks Museum and IUPUI for an exciting day of music, performances, food and fun as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Juneteeth. The celebration and admission to the museum on June 20th will be free for all.

     *Indiana teachers receive free admission and the opportunity to earn two professional growth points toward license renewal. Documentation of participation and attendance will be provided following the lecture.



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