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Current Exhibits

Colburn’s exhibits present high quality information with hands-on displays and knowledgeable staff to answer!

Featured Artist: Orr AmbroseMossy waterfall- Orr Ambrose

Artwork on display through August 1st, 2015.

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”-Carl Sagan

American artist Orr Ambrose, born 1970, was raised in Greenville, South Carolina. Her early art education began with drawing classes at the County Museum. From there she went on to receive private instruction and enroll at the Greenville Fine Arts Center. She earned her BFA from the University of Georgia, majoring in Painting and Ceramics. In addition, Orr spent 7 months in Cortona, Italy studying drawing and refining her painting technique. She completed a 3 year residency program at Odyssey Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

Orr Ambrose has shown in solo and group exhibitions in galleries across the eastern US, demonstrating a path of focused growth. Her paintings are included in private and corporate collections and she has been commissioned to create works for private collectors.

The paintings displayed are from her recent collection based on theories of cosmology and biology. Most of her paintings include circular movement, representative of microscopic particles in nature. “It is into this space that I link shape and color, layer upon layer, line by line, molecule by molecule, creating a unique point of reference.”-Orr Ambrose

Check out our featured artist’s webpage: http://www.orrambrose.com

Lego Station for KIDZ

Bricks4kidz is teaming up with our museum this summer (June-September) to encourage young creative thinking skills and enhance motor skills for kids of all ages! Several LEGO® tables will be set up in our Grove Stone Earth Center for children to play and create amazing designs during their time at the museum. These tables will be used throughout our summer during special LEGO® programming as well as give children a inventive start to our 1st annual LEGO® Contest. From July 27th-September 7th we will feature all of our LEGO® Contest winners in this exhibit.

Fossils of the Deep

Arriving this fall! Check out undersea wonders. Learn about vertebrates and invertebrates and how they coexist within the same environment. Fossils are gateways for scientists to discover more about our past and present. Explore the treasures of the deep with this new exhibit.


Hall of Minerals

The Hall of Minerals features many items from the Colburn Earth Science Museum’s primary collection of more than 4,500 specimens, including  examples of the more than 350 minerals found in North Carolina. Kyanite, quartz, corundum, beryl, mica, feldspar and itacolumite, the bending rock are among the many specimens in this exhibit.


A model of the inside of a volcano for visitors to touch and learn about volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics!

Grove Stone Earth Center

Displays in the Grove Stone Room explore the geology of North Carolina and the world. The exhibits cover volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics and general geologic processes, including those that formed the mountains of Western North Carolina.



An antique miner’s hat with carbide lamp. Just one of many amazing artifacts we have in our “History of Mining” Exhibit!

History of Mining in North Carolina

This exhibit chronicles mining activity in North Carolina, including the activities of  Native Americans, Spanish explorers and 20th-century Western North Carolinians. Displays showcase North Carolina’’s role as the first major producer of gold in the United States, commercial mining, and the variety of gemstones found in North Carolina. The exhibit also has a replica of a gem mine, complete with a simulated dynamite charge and gem pockets.



Gemstone Gallery

The Museum’s gem collection includes more than 1,000 cut gemstones from around the world and specimens from North Carolina. Garnet, morganite, diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, hiddenite, stibiotantalite, tourmaline and topaz are just some of the breathtaking gemstones on display.

img_3039Climate, Weather and YOU!

Visitors can explore meteorology and climatology through this exhibit. Learn about weather events and patterns in Western North Carolina and the Southeastern United States, and practice giving a weather report on TV at the Colburn.