About The California State Mining and Mineral Museum
The California State Mining and Mineral Museum is dedicated to the history of the California Gold Rush and the state’s mineral wealth and geological exploration.
Visitors can explore a variety of exhibitions, including the mine tunnel, which shows methods and conditions of the mining process in the 1880s.
There are also a number of displays at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum showing a wealth of amazing minerals and gems from the area. This vast collection holds over 13,000 artefacts including rare crystallised gold and a variety of mining objects and tools.
The California State Mining and Mineral Museum history
The era of Gold Rush led to extensive mining activities in California. The collection that the museum is now comprised of was created in 1880 by the California State Legislature.
The California State Mining and Mineral Museum was established in 1999, commemorating the era of the Gold Rush with a collection of artefacts and minerals displaying.
It is particularly well known for its California gold specimens. Other significant specimens on display include Benitoite the State gemstone, meteorites and historic artefacts including a 100 year old working stamp mill model from the Union Iron Works. Another notable piece is the 13.8 pound crystalline gold specimen called the “Fricot Nugget” which dates back to the gold rush era.
The museum is divided into three themes, with a simulated underground mining display to give a sense of what it is like in a mine, a large area devoted to explaining what mining is; what mining has occurred and is occurring in California; how man uses minerals, and an equally large area with displays of specimens of minerals with an emphasis on California.
The California State Mining and Mineral Museum today
Visitors to the California State Mining and Mineral Museum can explore the variety of California’s mineral wealth, view breathtaking gems and minerals from around the world, and experience California’s mining history. As well as the permanent collections, there are also a number of rotating displays. This museum is a popular stop on trips through the Mother Lode gold country or visits to nearby Yosemite National Park.
The museum is dedicated to teaching the public about the importance of mining and minerals in our history, environment and our daily lives. They offer free children’s activities and school tours relating to geology, rocks and minerals, the gold rush and mining history.
Getting to the California State Mining and Mineral Museum
The museum is located at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, 1.8 miles south of Mariposa on historic Highway 49.