Museum Plans

The Museum

The iconic Pima County Courthouse is a stunning building, in the heart of Tucson. This iconic and historic structure’s renovation is nearly complete, showcasing its magnificent Spanish Revival architecture. 

While taking exquisite care on the renovation, the new museum will be a completely remodeled, state-of-the art facility, with no detail left undone.

The main level will also offer a chance for reflection. The January 8th Memorial will be located on the West side of the building, commemorating the event of January 8th, 2011 and the wonderful spirit of the Tucson community which immediately transpired  following the tragedy. 

Global Significance

Space View of Earth

Tucson Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Showcase are a huge draw for hundreds of thousands of collectors, jewelers, manufacturers and dealers from all over the world. Earth scientists come to Tucson all year long, as well. Until now, people who followed their passions and professions didn’t have one place to explore both the art and science of gemology and mineralogy. 

Historic Beauty, Repurposed

Pima County Courthouse Dome

The University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum will occupy one of the most historic and iconic buildings in all of Arizona. Pima County will complete an $30 million renovation, restoring its architectural glory. The new museum will be an anchor for geo-tourism in Southern Arizona. 

Rock-Solid Destination

Museum Group

While the museum will draw the scientific and professional communities, tourists will also be attracted to the museum as a year-round destination. Visitors of all ages will have abundant opportunities to be inspired and astonished by what they see here. The adjoining Southern Arizona Heritage and Visitor Center will feature travel information about history, culture, food, ecology, and recreation in the area.

“We're pleased at the opportunity for this world-class collection to serve the broader community.” 

Robert C. Robbins, President, University of Arizona 

Lower level

The UA Geosciences Department will have expansive laboratories and expanded programs on the lower level. Gemologists and mineral collectors will be able to access state-of-the-art technologies.
These precision analytical tools allow Earth scientists to identify mineral species and their characteristics. Data can then be added to the RRUFF Database, a University of Arizona project that is amassing a set of high quality mineral data for identifying minerals both on Earth and other planets. Our technology will share this information with the world, setting a standard for identification that will benefit scientists, collectors, museums, and the associated industries. 

Research Center

Geoscience Research

The UA Geosciences Department will have expansive laboratories and expanded programs on-site at the new museum. Gemologists and mineral collectors will be able to access the latest technologies, including Raman analysis, X-ray diffraction, and other spectroscopy to further their studies. 

Deeper Resources

Museum Archive

Expanded laboratories and satellite office space will bring the world’s scientific community and major collectors to Tucson. We are creating a global destination for the Earth sciences. Gemologists and collectors will have access to the best in technologies, including Raman analysis, X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy. These precision tools allow for Earth scientists to determine mineral species and their characteristics. New data will be added to the RRUFF Project, which has had over a million “hits” per month. ​

Geoscience Degree, Gem Science Track

gemologist research student

Gemologists and other industry professionals will be offered a four-year geoscience degree, with an emphasis in gem science, the first in the United States. These courses will be taught in the lower level classrooms as well as on the main UA campus. And, naturally, students will have access to a wealth of scientific resources and lab equipment.​