National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum – Leadville, Colorado - Atlas Obscura
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Leadville, Colorado

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum

An enthusiastically interactive mining museum that won't let black lung ruin the fun. 

“Everything begins with mining. Everything!!!”

At least that’s what the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum believes. The museum sits in the center of Leadville, Colorado, the town with the highest elevation in the entire Rocky Mountain State, a soot-covered gem in the clouds. 

The museum contains a number of unique exhibits including a walk-through replica of an underground hard rock mine, complete with detailed mannequin miners and life-sized models of the pack mules that used to carry loads of supplies in and out of the mine. A trail of tracks leads visitors through the mine, and along the way you can watch the evolution of mining practices from the use of crude hammers and pick axes to using high-tech drilling equipment to extract precious metals. 

But the building is more than a museum; it’s also a Hall of Fame. The Mining Hall of Fame boasts dozens of plaques with biographies detailing the lives of prospectors, teachers, adventurers, and rascals who have all been instrumental in the industry and the history of Colorado as a whole. Many of the stories talk of men burrowing hundreds of feet underground with no light or oxygen, among other harrowing exploits from the unsung heroes of mining history.  

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum has been criticized for an emphasis on the mine owners and other higher-ups as opposed to the laborers, but no matter your opinion on the facility, its fascinating displays offer a deep well of knowledge. 

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