The World Museum of Mining was founded in 1963, when the mining boom was on its way out. Mining is essential to the city’s history and culture, so the idea was to preserve that information for future generations and for visitors.
The World Museum of Mining is one of the few museums in the world that’s located on an actual mine yard, the Orphan Girl Mine. Visitors can learn about the mine’s history, check out the original structures, and go underground for a full-on guided tour.
The underground mine tour is fascinating. Visitors are fitted with miners’ hard hats, battery belts and cap lamps, which are almost the only lights that are visible underground. The tour itself might be the most realistic of its kind in the world. The tour guides lead guests 65 feet into the mine, sharing stories and answering questions along the way. Since it’s so well-preserved, you’ll truly feel like you’ve gone back in time.
Since mines were known to be such dangerous places and the tour is quite realistic, some people do get scared. The website states that anyone is welcome to turn around at any time. The tour is definitely worth taking, however, especially when you stop and think about how that was the daily reality of the miners who spent endless hours working there.
The museum also has some other interesting exhibits. The mineral room contains some of the treasures collected from the mine, most of which came from a former miner named Roy Garrett who generously donated his collection to the museum upon his death.
You can also take a stroll through Hell Roarin’ Gulch, a full-on re-creation of an 1890s mining town with 15 historic structures and 35 buildings constructed from old materials.
Four memorial walls made from polished granite slabs contain the names of the 2,500 men who lost their lives in the mines.