Western Museum of Mining & Industry
The Western Museum of Mining & Industry strives to bring enrich the public with the history of mining in the American West. Its mission extends further, as they attempt to make continue the legacy of this topic by preserving, collecting, and showcasing artifacts that are representative of this goal. The museum is open six days a week, and offers daily tours to the public.
Backstory and Context
The history of the Western Museum of Mining & Industry begins with its establishment in 1970. Originally, during this year, the Museum of the West became a non-profit institution that devoted its existence to preserving and showcasing the mining history of Colorado. At its opening, the museum had acquired a core collection of mining artifacts that were donated by Fredrick Mckenemy Farrar and Katherine Thatcher Farrar.
This founding collection served as the foundation for what is now a collection that numbers over 4,000 artifacts. Two years after its opening, the museum became the Western Museum of Mining & Industry. One of the incredible things about the museum is that its exhibits are mostly outdoor. These include: the Mine Reclamation Exhibit, Reynolds Ranch House, Stamp Mill, and Nugget and Chism. The Mine Reclamation Exhibit showcases the important process that is the restoration of land where mining has occurred so that it becomes productive again. Reynolds Ranch House was on the State Register of Historic Properties in 1997, and the museum has plans to restore the home into a Victorian Era farmhouse. The Stamp Mill is an example of how such Western mills operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Finally, Nugget and Chism are two burros that demonstrate how such animals were instrumental in the mining process.