The allure of the coveted metal gold and fossils of reptiles and mammals never before shown outside Asia are the focus of two new exhibits at the Boston Museum of Science.

"Gold!," which opened Thursday, covers the various uses of the precious metal, from art to industrial.The highlight of the exhibit is a collection borrowed from the Harvard Mineralogical Museum. Valued at more than $1 million, the collection contains some of the world's finest naturally occurring selections. It contains samples from 20 states and more than 40 countries.

The exhibit also features plenty of hands-on displays. Visitors can re-enact the efforts of the California "49ers," panning for gold at a working sluice salted with real gold flakes.