Yosemite History & Museums: California State Mining Museum, Mariposa CA

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California State Mining Museum

The history of the gold rush in the Wild West has fascinated historians and tourists alike since the 19th century. The California State Mining Museum (CA) is the epitome of everything that era had to offer. It brings the history of these exciting moments in pioneering history to life in a truly unique fashion that is one stop amongst many in Mariposa that should not be missed. Read More

When one sees CA, one cannot help, but think of the gold rush of the late 19th century. The California State Mining Museum in Mariposa is probably one of the best places to visit when seeking to step back in history and learn all there is to know about the prospectors and the other pioneers seeking riches and a new life in the Wild West. In fact, many a state town began as such boomtowns.

Interestingly enough gold can still be found, nestled in Mariposa's foothills in the Sierra Nevada. This area is the location of the museum which sits in the famous Mariposa Vein. The Vein was first discovered by Kit Carson and John C. Fremont, explorers that first discovered gold there and finally built the state's first ore crushing mill.

Today, visitors can discover this incredible history – a wealth of minerals and intense diversity. Collections include artifacts dating back to 1880, such as mining equipment, tools, rare gold specimens and other gems. Originally these exhibits were housed in San Francisco for about one hundred years, but were move to their current resting place in the early 1980's. As a result of its importance significance, the museum was declared to be a state park just over 8 years ago.

One of the most famous exhibits was discovered in 1864 in the America River area, the famous Fricot Nugget, which weighs about thirteen pounds. Other popular attractions include a mining tunnel, assay office, a stamp mill model, and its many tours and annual programs for schools, tourists and anyone else that might be interested. In fact, its gift shop has an array of souvenirs – books, minerals samples/art and jewelry.