RED LODGE POST
Montana has lots of marvelous attractions, many so interesting. The Mineral Museum operated by the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology on the campus of Montana Tech in Butte, Montana is a must see.
The museum claims to “amaze and inspire.” This statement coveys so much about a place that is even much more. The numerous exhibits at the Mineral Museum offer a window into the science and beauty of rocks and minerals.
The crown jewel at the Mineral Museum is a 27.5 ounce gold nugget, officially named The Highland Centennial Gold Nugget, discovered in the mountains a few years ago near Butte. The museum staff are also especially proud of a large smoky quartz cluster. Measuring two feet in diameter, it’s called The Rheanna Star.
The Mineral Museum is an international collection as specimens come from many parts of the world. A large amethyst quartz geode is from Brazil, for example. As an added attraction, the Mineral Museum has a small collection of dinosaur bones. Over many years, museum staff have amassed a collection of around 13,000 specimens, acquired by donation and other support.
The museum has a gift shop on site. Visitors can buy gifts from a wide selection of rocks and minerals. If you can imagine, admission is FREE.
Hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily during the summer months, June 15 – September 15. Winter hours, open on Wednesdays, only.
You don’t have to be a naturalist to appreciate the displays found here. Here’s a chance to see minerals as they exist in nature. A few exhibits will help you understand and appreciate gems stones you may own for jewelry. There’s very high public interest in this museum, some 42% of visitors are from out-of-state. So impressive.
Absaroka Mountain, Mont.
© 2021 John Sandy