About the Museum
For more information visit our webpage on the State Parks website
Inspired by the mineral wealth of the gold rush, the State of California began documenting the state’s mining history and mineral resources over a century ago.
This fascinating collection, which started in San Francisco, is now exhibited at the Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa, an historic gold country town. Like many historic sites that are located along Highway 49, it has a rich and colorful history. The museum became a California State Park in 1999.
The Mining and Mineral Museum contains thousands of unusual gems and mineral specimens, old mining artifacts, and a replica of a hard rock mining tunnel for visitors to explore. But not all the rocks are down-to-earth. The museum also exhibits rocks from space, commonly known as meteorites.
One of the favorite displays is the Fricot Nugget, a rare crystalline gold specimen that weighs more than 13 lbs. The central vault area also features the Museum’s finest specimens including the official state gem, Benitoite, a very rare sapphire-blue gemstone first found in California.
The West Wing showcases an antique model of a stamp mill representing an important part of California’s mining heritage. The stamp mill captured small amounts of gold from the ore extracted by miners. Another look into the past is an exhibit of a miniature mining town crafted from petrified wood. Today the golden state continues to prosper from its unique geographical landscape and rich resources. Discover how much mineral wealth still exists in our everyday lives.