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Billions of years of life, science and history in the palm of your hand!  Curated, handcrafted, and artfully arranged for display and wonder!
Billions of years of life, science and history in the palm of your hand! Curated, handcrafted, and artfully arranged for display and wonder!
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5,030 backers pledged $1,226,811 to help bring this project to life.

Shipping Delay, Protecting Mini Museums, Earliest Life, Laniakea: Our Home Supercluster

Posted by Hans Fex (Creator)

Hello, everyone!

Thank you all for the kind words after the last update. It really means a lot to me and the whole mini museum team.  Unfortunately, as the subject indicates, I have to announce another delay.

A minor issue came up when printing the companion guides.  This held us up a few days and we missed our shipping window. The corrected companion guides have arrived, but now Typhoon Kalmaegi is bearing down and we are uncertain about the next window.

Please know that we working through a variety of options to get mini museums to all of the backers as soon (and safely) as possible. I am also staying here in China to personally oversee this part of the process.  I will share details as soon as possible, including information about the Touch mini museums.

Protecting Mini Museums

On the subject of safety, I want to share the ways we are protecting your mini museums before their journey.  Let's begin by going back to the polishing stage of the assembly process.  This is the last stage before we begin packaging:

A row of polished mini museums is a little mesmerizing. This is the first and last time these Large mini museums will be lined up like this, because after polishing, every mini museum receives a complete protective film covering:

After the protective film covering is in place, each mini museum is placed inside a bubble wrap bag, which is slipped into the custom microfiber pouch:

The mini museum then goes into the custom made box.  The box itself is reinforced on the inside with die cut foam inserts for further protection:

The box lid is secured (it's a snug fit), and the batch number is noted in a special area on the side of the box.  As you can see below, this information will be helpful later when we begin preparing final shipments. :)

Earliest Life: Strelley Pool Stromatolite

Since the last moments of a project are often what one remembers best, I thought I might go back and share some details about the preparation of one of the first specimens I worked on: the Strelley Pool Stromatolite.

Stromatolites form in tidal areas when sediment gets trapped in microbial mats. The process repeats over and over producing successive layers. The resulting accretionary structures eventually harden, and given enough time the life within becomes fossilized.

The Strelley Pool Formation is located in Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. The landscape below may seem like a long way from the ocean, but during the Archean Eon (2.5-4 billion years ago) it was underwater. 

[Pilbara Craton, Western Australia source: Nature Geoscience]

Due to the extreme age and pristine nature of this ancient site, the Strelley Pool Formation is protected by Australia's Cultural Heritage Act.  I'm happy to note that the Strelley Pool Stromatolites in the mini museum (pictured below) were obtained from a licensed dealer in accordance with this important law.

In the close-up image below, you can see what the accretionary layers look like in detail:

The Strelley Pool Stromatolite was a physically demanding specimen to prepare.  The material itself is very dense, and the layers present a unique challenge since they tend to fracture.  As a result, one must evaluate each cut carefully:

The larger pieces pictured above go through several stages of careful reductions until an ideal sized specimen is produced, which you can see in the macro image below:

I am particularly excited by the variety of colors and texture in this specimen.  Each specimen is truly unique!

Laniakea: Our Home Supercluster

Last weekend, a paper concerning superclusters caught my eye.  A supercluster is a collection of hundreds of galaxies that are linked together. They are the largest structures we've discovered so far, and scientists from the University of Hawaii have now identified the Milky Way's own home supercluster.  They've named this supercluster Laniakea.

The amount of work that went into the discovery of Laniakea is staggering.  You can read about in the latest issue of Nature, but I want to share the accompanying video.  The data visualization is just so beautiful:

Maybe it's because I have shipping on my mind, but to me, the movement of galaxies looked like rivers streaming across the universe. I've certainly been thinking a lot about all of the places the mini museums will go. I think about the faces of the people who will receive them and what they will say to their family and friends. It's a very moving experience, and I am so looking forward to the next stage of this journey.

Now it's back to work!

- Hans

Fabian Weidenbach, Ben Barron, and 48 more people like this update.


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    1. Patrick Brice on

      Squeeeeee!!! I get more and more excited with each update! In the venerable words of Willy Wonka (née Gene Wilder): "The suspense is terrible... I hope it'll last."

    2. Lorenzo Gallus on

      For an object (and for a unique idea) as the MiniMuseum I can to wait! I have great confidence in the system of shipping that you choose to make to get to your destination safe and sound our little treasure! In Italy we are waiting for the MiniMuseum! :)

    3. Andrea De Giorgio on

      I'm waiting for MM in august... I hope that it will arrive early in Italy :)

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      Sid Ally on

      The dedication to the fans of your work is amazing Hans but we'd all rather a delay than take a risk with the minimuseums or your safety.
      Take care! Love the science updates too!

    5. Cassie Grove on

      Thanks for another wonderful update! The delay is totally understandable. And I know I would rather wait and get the best items possible in the best condition possible.

    6. Nine

      Another fabulous update in this really awesome kickstarter project. And then there are some really tasty macro photos. I love them. worlds within worlds. Be it in macro or in big, as seen in the cluster. Still what is most awesome about this, is not the product, which is the goal of the project and a masterpiece of its own, but your continuous dedication from even before this kickstarter project started throughout the project and keeping that quality and your own input up is amazing to see. Thanks a lot.

    7. Mike Kochis on

      @James Closs. Knock on wood no customs issues!

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      Lauren L Corbin on

      Hans, spectacular update and each one is wonderful and so exciting. I agree with one other individual who said your descriptions should be included as an appendix to the book. They make it all so real. Safety is my number one concern. I know they mini museums will be here in due time. Thank you for continuing to update us. This is truly the first kick starter campaign that I look forward to the updates as much as the final product. Congrats to you and the team. Extraordinary stuff. Thx.

    9. Jeff Flowers on

      Awesome and awe inspiring. Thank you so much, the efforts you (and the whole team) have put into this project - are simply incredible.

      I can't tell you how much I love reading these updates - the care taken, coupled with the amazing tidbits of information - they make my day.

    10. James Closs on

      Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the weather delays. I was part of another Kickstarter that had typhoon troubles. I think their delays in customs were worse than the weather related ones.

    11. James Closs on

      It's interesting to draw a comparison between the mini museums lined up in China and the Terracotta Warriors there as well and think that some of the stuff in these brand new museums is older than the warriors.

    12. Michael Steer on

      I've never been even remotely as excited about a Kickstarter project as this one and I'm delighted I got in on it. Thanks for continuing to post brilliant updates. They never feel like delays, they just whet my appetite :)

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      Michael M Tallman on

      Hans, honestly, you can ship mine next year if it helps ;) I think your updates should go into a PDF or epub because they are so detailed.

      Great work!

    14. Chad Abbs on

      Thanks for yet another great update Hans. I can't wait to hold it and show it to my 4 yr old daughter. Stay safe while over there and I wish you a safe trip back to the states.

    15. Charity on

      The best laid plans are often ruined by Mother Nature. She has her own schedule! Just be safe! On a side note, will the tshirts be sent out soon? I'm guessing not with the museums.