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The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, nick-named the “Smithsonian of the Rockies”, takes visitors on an interesting journey from mineral extraction to the finished products. Exhibits range from the history of America’s first gold rush to the newest exhibit on molybdenum.
The Mining Museum opened in 1987 and received a Congressional Charter in 1988. It is one of Leadville’s six museums. NMHFM also owns the Matchless Mine. The museum is open year-round.
NMHFM is kid-friendly with multiple interactive exhibits. Walk-though dioramas that replicate sights and sounds of underground mine operations. Giant crystals glitter in the minerals display. The gold rush segment features actual gold nuggets. A lunar geology display features meteorites, tektites and an actual moon rock. A replicated house uses touchable products to show how various minerals are used in common everyday products, like toothpaste.
The Mining Hall of Fame fills an upstairs room. Plaques commemorate inventors, investors, and more than 200 major contributors to mining.
The museum is located in the former Leadville school complex including the 1899 high school building at 120 West 9th Street, Leadville. There is an art gallery and gift shop.