Mines Museum of Earth Science – Golden, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

Mines Museum of Earth Science

An impressive collection of over 50,000 minerals including moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission.  


The Geology Museum is a literal gem on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines. Its impressive collection includes over 50,000 minerals, gems, and fossils from all over the universe. Yes, the universe.  

The museum was opened in 1874 as an addition to the engineering school in Golden, Colorado, and what began as a small collection of minerals has grown into an impressive museum, spanning two entire floors. Over the years, the museum has obtained artifacts like a moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission, as well as other cosmic treasures. In August 2016, the museum was bequeathed a surprising and unexpected inheritance of minerals, gems, and meteorites.

The first floor of the museum contains a wide variety of gems and minerals from Colorado’s mining districts all over the state, while a special exhibit room holds prominent exhibit and precious metal displays. The lower floor contains exhibits about radioactivity, fossils, basic geology, gemstones, meteorites, ultraviolet minerals, and underground mining illumination. 

The collection also includes six beautifully restored murals painted by Irwin Hoffman in the 1930s showcasing the history of mining and an outdoor geologic trail giving visitors first-hand experience with the concepts addressed inside.

Know Before You Go

Mines Museum is located in the General Research Laboratory (GRL) building, near the Volk Gymnasium on the edge of campus.

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