The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is celebrating its silver anniversary this year, thanks in part to the support of organizations like Tri-State and Western Fuels-Colorado.
Appropriately located in Leadville, Colo., the hall of fame and museum is the only mining museum in the U.S. to hold a federal charter. It was approved by President Reagan on November 14, 1988.
“It’s a heck of a status symbol,” said Carl Miller, former director of the museum. “It says that this institution is the voice of the American mining industry.”
Dozens of educational displays comprise the museum which is housed in the 70,000-square-foot former Leadville High School. The building, constructed in 1899, includes a convention center and several meeting rooms.
“This museum is a treasure for our Centennial State and for our nation,” said Gigi Dennis, Tri-State’s senior manager of external affairs.
The hall of fame features approximately 150 men and women who made contributions to mining – including President Hoover, who was a mining engineer, and his wife Lou Henry Hoover, a geologist and Latinist. The couple spearheaded the first English translation of De Re Metallica in 1912 and a copy of the book, signed by Hoover, is on display there.
The museum portion features more than a dozen exhibits including bronze sculptures, a crystal room, dioramas, minerals exhibit, model railroad and gold rush room – where all 16 states that experienced gold rushes are represented.
The most popular exhibits of the museum are the mine replicas. One takes visitors through a hard rock mine complete with real retired equipment from local Leadville mines and another re-creates life inside an underground coal mine.
Visitors walk away with a greater understanding of how the vast array of materials mined from the earth affect nearly every aspect of our lives. “If you are in the area, it is well worth your time to see the exhibits and appreciate the hard work these men and women experience every day,” said Dennis.
- Learn more at www.mininghalloffame.org.