Idaho Museum of Mining & Geology
2455 Old Penitentiary Rd
Boise, ID 83712
March – November
Wednesday-Sunday: 12AM to 5PM
Hidden in the back of the Old Idaho Penitentiary Site, the Idaho Museum of Mining & Geology is a repurposed structure featuring 2300 square feet of maps, regional mining artifacts, and dioramas educating visitors on Idaho’s mining history and mineral wealth. Displays demonstrate the tools and techniques of placer and lode mining including a model stamp mill and mine elevator. While a model miner’s camp demonstrates how miner’s lived while working their claims.
A diorama of the Boise Basin mining districts breaks down the history of Idaho’s biggest gold rushes. In 1862, gold is discovered in Grimes Creek of the Boise Basin (aka Idaho Basin). The region is flooded with 15,000 prospectors within the first year. Millions of dollars of gold are yielded in the first few years. Additional strikes in the region prompt the establishment of Fort Boise to protect valuable gold shipments and lay the groundwork for the city of Boise.
The museum features extensive collections of local gems, minerals, precious metals, meteorites, fossils, and fluorescent rock samples in a black lit room. Idaho samples are broken down by district, demonstrating the state’s rich mining districts and notable geologic features.
Such mining activity has played a major roll in the development of Idaho. The devotion and detail found in the Idaho Museum of Mining & Geology collections are testament to the importance of mining and geologic sciences in the state. It is a treasure to be enjoyed by all.