Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum
The Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum is an organization committed to the preservation of minerals and mining history for the purpose of educating students, educators, and the general public as it relates to the Kentucky/Illinois Fluorspar District and the effect minerals have on the daily lives of the general public.
Backstory and Context
Ben E. Clement arrived in the fluorspar district of Kentucky just prior to the 1920’s, a period which coincided with the economic growth of the fluorspar industry. With a dream of establishing his own business, Clement used his limited resources to operate a succession of fluorspar mines.
These mines were successful in supplying fluorspar ore to the growing US steel industry where it was used as a flux. When foreign ore became cheaper for the industry in the early 1960’s, Clement turned his attention toward supplying fluorite and accessory minerals to a growing collector market, an endeavor he continued until his death in 1980.
During his career in mining, Clement recognized that he was experiencing a segment of American industrial history not likely to be duplicated. As a result, he undertook a preservation effort of monumental proportions. Today we have thousands of fluorite specimens, accessory minerals, photographs, letters, records and other memorabilia collected by Mr. Clement. It is the finest legacy of physical evidence and connects us to this little-known segment of American mineral history. This treasure trove of collected material has been opened to the public, at the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky.