The World Museum of Mining is located in Butte, Montana, and offers mining exhibits, artifacts, a recreation of an 1890s mine town, and the Orphan Girl Mine.
Situated in a mine yard, The World Museum of Mining is probably one of the world’s most unique museums, as few mining museums are located in one.
The museum has various fun exhibits for guests to tour, including a room featuring minerals and rocks and a doll and dollhouse exhibit.
The Orphan Girl Mine Yard which features cages you can climb into and Hell Roarin Gulch, a recreation of a mining town are probably the most popular exhibits.
In addition to general admission, various tours are also available for visitors to learn more about the history of mining, including one that allows visitors to go 100 feet into the Orphan Girl Mine.
The museum also offers several educational opportunities for students, such as guided mine yard tours and scavenger hunts. After you’re done touring the museum, you can also go grab a souvenir or two at the gift shop.
If you’re at all interested in mining or simply want to visit a museum or two, visiting the World Museum of Mining well you’re Butte is definitely worth the trip.
What is the World Museum of Mining?
The museum was opened in 1963 and was started by the Butte Exchange Club.
In 1964, The Anaconda Company donated the location of the Orphan Girl Mine, which had closed in 1956. The mine was called Orphan Girl because of its isolation from the western part of Butte’s mining district.
Today the museum offers various exhibits and tours on mining. The museum also has a memorial to honor fallen miners.
What Is There To See and Do at The World Museum of Mining?
The World Museum of Mining in Butte offers plenty to do, as there is a plethora of exhibits and tours that guests can engage in.
The museum also even several opportunities to see the Orphan Girl Mine up close, with tours that allow visitors to go 100 ft into the mine shaft.
The Orphan Girl Mine Yard
The Orphan Girl Mine Yard is probably the most popular attraction at the museum. The exhibit is home to an original structure of the mine which includes a 100-foot tall head frame and the Hoist House, which hosts 66 exhibits and mining equipment.
You can also walk into Orphan Girl and explore the headframe structure and Lorry rail car. The exhibit also has cages you can climb into to experience that were used to transport miners down into the mines for work.
Tour the Orphan Girl Mine
Visitors can opt to tour the Orphan Girl Mine and go underground. This tour takes 1.5 hours and leads you to the original shaft station.
Visitors will get to experience what miners did as they go underground into the mine. The tour lets guests go up to 100 feet into the mine and have a chance to learn about the history of the mine from the tour guide.
Hell Roarin’ Gulch
The Hell Roarin’ Gulch exhibit transports guests back to the 1890s when mining was a thriving industry in Montana.
The exhibit is a recreation of a mining town and has 15 intact historic structures and 35 buildings made with old materials.
There are numerous period artifacts as well as several buildings to explore. Guests can visit churches, a schoolhouse, and more.
Mineral and Rock Room
This room hosts several minerals and rocks donated by Roy Garret’s family. Roy Garret was a miner at the Orphan Girl Mine and during the forty years he worked there, he collected various minerals and rocks.
Today guests can view over 1,600 minerals and rocks at the exhibit in the museum. This can be a fun exhibit to explore, as there are a variety of minerals to look at.
Samie Keith Doll & Dollhouse Exhibit
This exhibit is dedicated to Samie Keith, who worked at The World Museum of Mining for much of her life.
She loved to collect dolls and dollhouses and this exhibit serves to honor her by showcasing a huge doll collection. There are various trinkets, dolls, dollhouses, and more to look at, and many are highly detailed.
The World Museum of Mining has four memorial walls that are constructed of polished black granite slabs and were sandblasted with over 2,500 names.
This memorial serves to honor those that lost their lives to mining, mill/smelter, concentrator, or railroad accident in the Silver Bow Mining District.
What Educational Resources does The World Museum of Mining Offer?
The world Museum of Mining has a plethora of activities to do that are educational in nature. It’s a great place for families and schools to visit.
Guided Mine Yard Tour
Instead of going through the Orphan Girl Mine Yard self-guided groups and schools can opt for a guided tour, which allows guests to learn more about the history of the mine.
This tour takes about 1 hour and after the tour ends guests will have an hour to explore the museum on their own.
This is an educational opportunity specifically for schools taking field trips to the museum.
Students will have a chance to engage in a scavenger hunt that teaches them about the history of the mine and gives them a chance to explore the various exhibits in a fun way.
White Glove Tour
Ever wonder how museum exhibits are set up and maintained? This tour allows you to go “behind the scenes” and learn about the history of the exhibits.
The exhibits toured will depend on the date of the tour, so be sure to check their website for information on the dates each exhibit will be featured on the White Glove Tour.
How to Visit The World Museum of Mining
The museum is open seven days a week and operates the following hours:
- Sun-Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
General admission is $10 and mine tours are $21.
Overall, the World Museum of Mining is a great place to visit. It offers a plethora of things to do and see. For anyone interested in mining it’s definitely worth a stop well in Butte.