Marble Institute of America (MIA) and Building Stone Institute (BSI) have announced a first-time partnership between the two organizations in hosting a joint fall study tour from October 23 to 26, 2011. The BSI has coordinated many successful study tours in the past and decided that the granite and marble region of Vermont offers many points of interest to stone professionals. Vermont was also the setting for two popular MIA quarry tours in 2007 and 2009, and was a priority for the MIA to go back in 2011. The 2011 study tour is a joint venture developed through the efforts of MIA Vice President Jim Hieb, and BSI Executive Vice President Jane Bennett. This partnership launches a powerful new movement within the natural stone industry of the many individual organizations working together toward common goals.

The BSI will hold its semi-annual board meeting on Sunday, October 23, followed by a welcome dinner for BSI members. The two-day joint event includes tours to Rock of Ages’ Bethel White quarry and fabrication center, plus a view of the world’s deepest granite quarry (E.L. Smith) -- located just one half mile away. A tour of Hope Cemetery, a virtual museum of stone art and local history, will be enhanced through the accounts of renowned artisan Julian Cecchinelli. Day two focuses on marble with a visit to the largest North American underground quarry at Danby Marble, plus a stop at the Vermont Marble museum and the Vermont Verde Antique’s Rochester quarry. Barre-based Trow and Holden Company, Miles Supply and several other stone industry operations will also factor into the event.

A closing dinner involving both organizations will be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier, VT. Local area stone artisans and other stone industry affiliates from the Barre Granite Association will also be invited.