Pinos Altos may not be the easiest town to locate today, but in it’s day, it was a hub for ranching an mining.
Located in the original Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company headquarters in the center of Bisbee, the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum preserves the legacy of the “The Queen of the Copper Camps.”
In the basement of the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium in Tuscon, Arizona is the University of Arizona Mineral Museum. While the footprint of the museum may be small, it contains a core collection of over 35,000 mineral specimens and a micromount collection with over 7,000 additional specimens of crystals too small to appreciate with the naked eye. The collection spans 1,561 different species and 2,000 types of minerals.
The Chihuahua Desert is the third largest desert in the Western Hemisphere, spanning parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico. Along with several mountain ranges and dramatic vistas, the desert is home to deposits of lead, zinc, barite, copper, manganese, sulfur, oil, gas, fluorite, talc, potash, water, quarry stone, gypsum, mercury, bentonite, salt, silver,…
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.
Silver City, as the name suggests, owes its name, architecture, and very existence to the rich silver deposits found in the Silver City Mining District of New Mexico. The Silver City Museum houses a collection of artifacts from local mining operations and the daily life of the town’s residents. Native copper, assaying tools, portable scales, and even radioactive health treatments from the local ore all are on display for the curious visitor.
Why is the Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum closed? The ornate building in downtown Phoenix contains a remarkable mining and mineral collection, worthy of a state whose history is filled with major mining events and towns built up around massive ore deposits such as Bisbee, Tombstone, and Jerome. One needs only circle round the building and outdoor displays to see that this still has the potential to be a world class mining museum. And, yet the collection remains locked away, on extended hiatus.
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.
Jerome may be considered a ghost town today, but between late-1880s and early 1950s it was the “Billion Dollar Copper Town,” with all the challenges and profits that came with a thriving mining operation. The town is perched over a copper mine that once produced 3 million pounds of copper per month. The Jerome State Historic Park chronicles the boom and bust of Jerome through the perspectives of the Douglas family as well as the Jerome area.
While many mining museums commemorate the collection of precious metals, the New Mexico Mining Museum in Grants highlights a material that only gained value in the mid-20th century: uranium. Located 78 miles west of Albuquerque, Grants, New Mexico has experienced many booms, from railway to logging to carrots. But when a local Navajo shepherd named Paddy Martinez discovered uranium ore in nearby Haystack Mesa in 1950, Grants was flooded with uranium prospectors and experienced a mining boom spanning the 1950s to the 1980s.