History and Background


** Rockhounds joined together to form unions, to associate with fellow rockhounds, to put on shows.

  • 1938- Seven clubs met to form the Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies

  • 1. Washington Agate & Mineral Society, President, Ray C. Grulke
    2. Oregon Agate & Mineral Society, President, E.H. Rockwell
    3. Deschutes Geology Club, President, C.G. Springer
    4. Camas Mineral Society, President, Arthur K. Harris
    5. Columbian Geological Society, President, Charles O. Fernquist
    6. Gem Collectors Club, President, M.F. Reed
    7. Tacoma Mineral Society, President, Floyd A. Holmquist
  • First President of the Northwest Federation was Dr. Henry C. Dake
  • 1942- Suspended meetings and shows for the duration of WWII
  • 1947- Four Federations met to form the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies
  • 1950- Eastern clubs formed a Federation and joined the AFMS
  • 1954- South Central (originally Texas, founded in 1946) joined the AFMS
  • 1993- Southeast joined the AFMS, bringing the total to seven Regional Federations.
  • 1992- The American Lands Access Association, ALAA, was founded to provide a lobbying arm for the AFMS, its member Federations, and thus all rockhounds who belong to member societies.

 Through membership in local clubs that affiliate with the NFMS, rockhounds have access to, and are part of, these larger unions. Each Federation, on a rotational basis, hosts the National Show and Convention. The Northwest hosted the show at Boise, Idaho, in 1995 - and will host another AFMS Show and Convention in 2002.

Shows / Uniform Rules

** Excellent displays of Gems, Minerals, Fossils and other good stuff.

One of the major reasons for the clubs to join together into Federations was, and is, to put on shows. In the beginning, rockhounds simply put their items to be displayed on open table tops. Over the next few years, a variety of display cases were used, and the quality of collections improved. After forming the Uniform Rules Committee in 1960, standards were established, and displays continued to improve through competitive judging. Now, all of our Gem Shows contain excellent displays! Showmanship, quality, and workmanship are of the highest standards.

 Many exhibitors have improved their work as a result of looking at what others have accomplished. Consequently, the quality of exhibits at local club shows has improved over the years. The general public - and rockhounds, too - who attend our club or Federation shows now are treated to displays that often exceed what they might see in better museums.

 The Northwest Newsletter contains a table of all shows in the Northwest Federation. Attend one near you, soon!

Information / Communication

** Getting the information out to and about rockhounds.

Rockhounds can find out what's going on through club bulletins. Many Editors exchange with other clubs, thus expanding the scope of information available. Also, every member of a Northwest Federation club receives a copy of the Northwest Newsletter, and three members of every club receive the AFMS Newsletter. Through membership in ALAA, you can receive their newsletter and keep informed of regulations and potential governmental issues that affect our hobby interests.

In 1967, the AFMS started the Club Publications Committee and Editors' Breakfasts. This committee has helped Editors with suggestions for their bulletins. As a result, Editors have improved their presentation and content, and now with the use of computer programs for desktop publishing, the quality of most bulletins is excellent!

A Web Site Committee was started by the AFMS in 1998. The Regional Federations will be supported through this committee. At the time, Northwest was the only Federation without a site in some stage of development. Now, in 1999, the NEMS also has a site under development, which will include links to other club and Federation sites.

 All Regional Federation sites can be found by linking from the AFMS site at: www.amfed.org as well as from any of our pages under the Federation Sites on the right side of any of our web pages. Visit us there!

Statistics: (2010 Report)



Land Area

(Square Miles)

Number of Clubs

Number of Members

Alaska 551,971 570,833 1 137
Idaho 1,036,500 82,413 10 829
Montana 841,700 145,388 6 401
Oregon 2,853,733 96,187 21 1881
Utah 1,727,784 82,076 2 471
Washington 4,887,941 66,512 29 1872
NFMS Club at Large NA NA 1 50
TOTALS 11,899,605 1,043,409 70 5641