The Friendly Federation

Founded to Serve

Southeast Federation
of Mineralogical Societies, Inc.
AFMS Member
Member of the American Federation of Mineral Societies

American Federaton Publications
(PDF Files)

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 Guidelines for Exhibitors:

Some General Comments about Competitive Exhibiting

Every club should have a copy of all AFMS publications in their Club Library. This should include a copy of the Uniform Rules, Guidelines for Judges, Guidelines for Exhibitors, and all of the various approved lists of names. Many clubs don't have any of these and the excuse for not having them is that "no one in our club is interested in competition".

You don't have to be interested in competition to find a use for these publications. You do put in displays at your local show, (non-competitive) and want to have them look as nice as possible and show off you collection as well as possible. You also want to educate the patrons to your show so the labels should be as accurate and legible as if you were in competition. Besides, you might get a new member who is interested in competition and you want to help all of your members as much as possible don't you?

Yes you could tell him where he/she can purchase the publications themselves (if they are really interested they probably will get them eventually) but it would be nice for them to get started right with the backing of the people they have decided to join with.

So, you have decided to enter competition, now what? First read the first two sections of the uniform rules, then read the rules for the particular division and class that you will be competing in. Yes the Rulebook is a daunting challenge, but it is not as bad as it first appears. Some of the language may not make sense at first but with very few exceptions it does on the second reading.

Now that you are thoroughly intimidated lets get on to what to do next. We assume you have a collection of some type to display and in the case of lapidary and jewelry you did all the work yourself then how are you going to put it in the case? If you own your own case, great, if you don't then set up an area the same size as the inside of a standard case or smaller depending on the display. Arrange the display in a pleasing arrangement using liners and risers as appropriate. Leave it for a week and come back and look at it, you will find something you don't like and will change it. Come back the next day and the same thing will happen. Sooner or later the changes will be minor and then you decide that you have the display the way you want it. Make a drawing of the layout so you can duplicate it at the show.

Make sure your labels are correct and legible. Make them on something that is not going to curl up under the heat of the lighting. Don't make too large but be sure all of the information that is needed is there. If this is your first competition (and we assume it is) don't enter as a Master. I have seen too many disappointed exhibitors who entered the first time and received a very respectable novice score that could have given them a blue ribbon but didn't get any ribbon because they were really in the wrong group. They were then very discouraged and possibly never entered again. Unfortunately many of these exhibitors were advised by others to enter that way because you can't receive a trophy except as a master. Learn from others mistakes because as the story goes "you won't live long enough to make them all yourself".

I have been cussed and discussed many times as a judge. But in every case if the competitor had read the rules and the other references they would not have made the errors they made. When reading a rule don' stop at the comma, read the rest of the sentence. Most judges today are more than willing to discuss with you ways to improve your display. They are not willing to stand and listen to a diatribe about how blind or prejudiced they are.

I will be the first to agree that in the past many judges did not write very helpful comments. They were not willing to discuss anything with the exhibitor, but hopefully that is changing. I have seen in the past few years a great improvement in judges comment writing and willingness to help the competitor.

If you are going to be around the show during judging ask to accompany the judges during the judging of your case. Most of the time the judges will agree to this. I personally prefer to have the exhibitor there when judging. It reduces my writing considerably. I will still write comments for the public to understand why points are being deducted but with competitor there as I am judging I can do a lot more in helping her/him improve his/her case.

Generally most points are lost in showmanship and labeling. However don't neglect workmanship, quality, and the other things that go into making a good display.

I hope this will be helpful to some of you and I am perfectly willing to answer any specific questions about judging or exhibiting.

 Guidelines for Judges:
 Approved Reference Lists:
 AFMS Uniform Rules Archive: (By Year)
Guidelines for Bulletin Editors - 2002 [Revised]

  Bulletin Editors' Contest publications on the AFMS website

1. A bulletin may be entered in one class only.  Any bulletin not adhering to the page limitation for the
different classes will be disqualified.
2. Mini, Small, and Large bulletin classes are determined by the number of pages, size of print, and paper
3. Bulletin class in relation to number of pages:
  New Editor – any size
  Mini – 6 pages or less (includes one-page bulletins)
  Small – 7 pages through 11 pages
  Large – 12 pages or more
4. What is a “page”?
•  8 ” x 11” paper with 12 pt. type, printed on one side is 1 page
•  8 ” x 14” paper with 12 pt. type, printed on one side is 1 pages
•  8 ” x 7” paper with 12 pt. type, printed on one side is   page (legal size paper stapled in the
middle & folded)
•  smaller type sizes can add to page per page
5. What is a cover sheet? When does it count as a “page”?
  A cover sheet contains the name of the bulletin, date of publication, volume number, and possibly places
for a mailing label, return address, and postage; a cover sheet DOES NOT count as a page if it does not contain
a noticeable amount of other information that changes each month .  If the cover sheet of a bulletin contains this
information as well as other information that routinely changes (such as a monthly calendar, table of contents,
reports, news items, etc.), then it DOES count as a page.   
6. A sheet printed on front and back counts as two (2) pages.
7. Each issue of bi-monthly or quarterly bulletins is considered one bulletin for determining size.
8. Space is limited in Mini Bulletins, so each item must be short, but broad coverage is desirable.  Judges
should consider the amount of coverage that is feasible for the amount of space allowed.  Judges should be
generous in scoring the various items covered briefly, but expect as much broad coverage and quality
information as possible in that space.
9. Some clubs are special interest groups, such as a Fossil or Faceting Society.  In scoring variety of material,
keep in mind that it is the variety of material that appears to fill this club’s needs.
10. Having a “Junior Club” is not required.  If there is a Junior Club, the activities should be reported.  No
points should be deducted if there is no Junior Club.  A statement could be attached by the editor, or judges
could check committees for a “Junior Leader.”
11. If a club does not publish minutes or “highlights,” or other score sheet items, no credit will be given
unless there is a statement as to the reason why that item is not published (club policy, available separately to
members, etc. or if the answer is obvious). 12. Club members deserve to know what is happening in both the Regional and AFMS Federations.
“Federation News” refers to reports given by the presidents and committee chairmen of the Regional
Federations and AFMS Federation. The size of the bulletin and the budget of the club may determine the
amount of coverage.
Things that get full credit for covering Regional and AFMS Federation news:
•  Regional and AFMS News Digest articles
•  One or more copies of reports from Regional and AFMS newsletters
•  “Highlights” or summaries of monthly Regional and AFMS newsletters
•  Statement that Regional/AFMS Federation newsletter is mailed to each member; a copy can be included
If none of these things are included in a bulletin, points will be deducted for federation news.
13. Many small clubs or clubs that have scattered memberships do not have:
•  Monthly board meetings (board meets only as needed)
•  Monthly workshop classes (no club workshop)
•  Monthly study classes (no formal study classes)
•  Winter field trips (none planned for winter months)
Clubs who have monthly board meetings and workshop/study classes should report them in their bulletins! If a
club does not have these events, the editor cannot report them, although the bulletin may have good coverage on
all club news/events. Editors may need to include statements that the club does not have a workshop, study
classes, monthly board meetings or field trips in extreme hot or cold months, to keep points from being
deducted. Unless they do, check club information (club committees, calendar of club events, minutes) to learn
about the club, then judge as fairly as you can.
14. A report (field trip, library news, member news, etc.) can be counted in the judging of bulletins under Club
News and Articles, but would NOT meet the criteria for judging Original Articles.
15. The New Editor Bulletin category refers to the club editor who has edited a bulletin for the first time last
year, or the club has started a new bulletin with a new editor. If an editor was replaced during the year, the club
will have to decide whether to enter the previous editor’s bulletins or the new editor’s bulletins in competition.
If the editor resigns and a spouse or family member takes over, the family member does NOT qualify as a
“NEW Editor.” If the incoming editor has been an editor in the past he CANNOT enter under the “NEW
Editor” category. An assistant editor or co-editor (moving up to editor) does NOT qualify for “NEW Editor”
status. “NEW EDITOR” is for one year only, the first year of editing a bulletin.  New Editors Bulletin category
is scored separately, and the bulletins may be of any size.