Sterling Hill Mining Museum
30 Plant St
Ogdensburg, New Jersey 07439
July – August
Daily: 10AM – 1PM
October – November
Daily : 1PM
December – March
April – June
Child (4-12): $9.00
Child Under 4: FREE
In our travels, few museums are as widely known as the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, New Jersey. The florescent rocks sourced from this region are a favorite of collectors for their brilliant colors and found in collections around the world. The museum itself is a compound of structures and outdoor exhibits spanning mining equipment, regional mining history, a mine tour, as well as an impressive collection of fluorescent rocks and goods.
A Brief History
The region has a long, though not always successful, history of mining. It first drew attention for copper mining. The Sterling Hill Mine, itself, was first mined in the 1630s by the mine’s namesake Lord Stirling. Yet, what was thought to be a copper vein proved to be otherwise. While it never became a successful source of copper, mining continued.
A second, short lived, renascence came with iron, discovered in the late 19th century. New Jersey son, Thomas Edison had invested in iron mining with the nearby Edison Ore-Milling Company—also in Ogdensburg—with little success. It simply was not profitable to mine at a commercial production level. Any question of further iron mining in the area came to an end when a rich and much more economically accessible vein was discovered in Minnesota.
Yet, that was still not the end of mining, as the Sterling Hill Mine attests. The mine proved to have a rich vein of zinc and, along with other mines in the area, Sterling Hill was acquired by the New Jersey Zinc Company in 1897 and produced until its close in 1986. The Sterling Hill Mine was the last operating underground mine in New Jersey and a singular landmark for the history of mining in the region.
Sterling Hill Mine was reopened in 1990 as part of the Sterling Hill Mine Museum and can be toured by visitors today.
A wide range of equipment and statues occupy the Sterling Hill Museum grounds. Old ore carts, drills, mills, and chunks of ore surround the parking lot.
Zobel Exhibit Hall
The Zobel Exhibit Hall, located in the old Sterling Hill Mine bath house, houses a wide range of gems, minerals, and mining equipment. Some of the original lockers remain in the front of the museum along with baskets hanging from the roof, which miners would store their day clothes when changing into work clothes. Hundreds of minerals occupy the back wall in the Oreck Mineral Gallery.
Take a walking tour through the Sterling Hill Mine. While commercial zinc mining operations have ceased, the mine still draws visitors not only for its history but for the remaining fluorescent rocks. A tour highlight is the “rainbow tunnel,” equipped with backlights.
Thomas S. Warren Museum of Fluorescence
The Thomas S. Warren Museum of Fluorescence sports three rooms full of fluorescent ore, products, and art.
The Gift Shop
For collectors and those who want to take a little of their experience home with them, the gift shop offers a variety of gems and fluorescent rocks for sale. If a visitor is looking for a more hands on approach, one can also mine for fluorescent stones in the rock dump, nearby.