Saskatchewan kids launch Radisson rock museum
'I don't think I've seen anybody come through that wasn't just thrilled,' says father Chris Tyreman
Judah Tyreman, 12, and his sister Avi, 7, might just be the youngest people in Canada, or even the world, to launch a gem museum.
The young collectors opened the doors last month to the Sesula Mineral and Gem Museum and Rock Shop in Radisson, which is about 65 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.
The public also contributed $5,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to help open the museum, where Judah is greeting visitors in between his homeschooling study.
Bringing back fond memories
Judah's father, Chris Tyreman, said his son's collection was transporting visitors back to their own childhoods.
"I watch people come into the store and it's like they go back to their childhood almost immediately, doesn't matter how old they are," he said.
"And their first reaction is 'Oh, I used to collect rocks when I was a kid' and it's like it rekindles in them some memory of childhood."
Tyreman said the store was already attracting a lot of visitors, including people from Australia and Thailand, even before they put up signs on the highway.
Remembering a friend
Judah named the museum for his local rock-collecting mentor, Stewart Sesula, who died in November.
Before he met Sesula, Judah was gradually adding to his collection through purchases on eBay using money earned by mowing lawns.
During one of his online hunts for stones, Judah came across Sesula's website. Sesula's farm was not that far from Radisson so Judah, his sister Avi and their dad paid a visit.
"There were so many rocks and minerals, they were in his garage and he even had a tub full outside," Judah recalled.
Sadly, not long after their friendship started Sesula contracted pneumonia and died. Their connection was such, however, that Sesula's vast collection was left to Judah and his sister.
"Jude said 'I can't just leave this in boxes so I need to put this in permanent display somewhere' so that's why he and his sister started the Kickstarter campaign to open up the museum," said Tyreman.
Other collectors from across North America have sent rock samples for Judah to display in the museum.
A hands-on approach
Tyreman said visitors to the museum had been delighted by the display, which his son has designed to be a hands-on experience.
"I don't think I've seen anybody come through that wasn't just thrilled with seeing it," he said.
"He's probably the only one in Saskatchewan that actually has something like this so it's really nice for people to come and be able to interact with this stuff."
With files from Francois Biber