The Borax Museum is a relatively small collection of mining artifacts, borax products, and local history housed in one of the oldest structures in Death Valley National Park. Along with displays of picks, pans, soap flakes, and arrow heads is an outdoor collection of mining and other industrial equipment used across Death Valley at the turn of the century.
Nestled on the steep Chloride Cliffs of the Funeral Mountains is one of the most successful mines in present day Death Valley National Park. The Keane Wonder Mine operated in the early 1900s, during the Death Valley mining boom. Nearly $1 million in gold were yielded between its discovery and closing in 1912. Yet the mine remains a popular attraction in the National Park.
Today, Ballarat is a ghost town known better for its cameo in Easy Rider or visits from the Manson Family than its early mining history. Yet, from 1897 to 1917, Ballarat was the trade hub for the rich gold and silver diggings on the western slope of the Panamint Range.
While Death Valley has had its share of gold and silver mines, the “White Gold of the Desert” has proven to be the deserts most profitable mineral. Borax mines and related facilities are dotted across the valley yet the Harmony Borax Works and interpretive trail is the primary attraction for visitors.