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Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum
The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum commemorates the mining industry that helped build Arizona. Arizona is the nation's number one mining state with the largest value of non-fuel mineral production in the country. The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum can trace its origin back to the first Arizona Fair, held in November of 1884! The mineral display was said to "overshadow all else."
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For Families:

The museum is absolutely great for children. Unless there is an uptight visitor, there is a pretty relaxed atmosphere. Still, some children might be bored with the cases of gorgeous rock specimens.

If you start out going straight through to the main museum to look at the mineral collections. If your children get tired of the displays, take them in the room around the front of the museum and let them select their rocks from the wheelbarrow.

Also, don't miss the dark room with the glowing minerals.


The collection, already one of the finest in the world, has been growing and improving since that time. Today, over 23,000 school children and 18,000 other visitors tour each year. The Museum draws mineral collectors and rockhounds from around the world. A map, driving directions, parking info, and hours can be found easily on the Mining and Mineral Museum website here. There is parking right behind the museum, and a nominal entrance fee for adults.

The Museum's Mission is "To educate Arizona's citizens about our mining and mineral heritage and to demonstrate that minerals are the cornerstone of Mankind's existence; that minerals have aesthetic value; and, that minerals have functional value."


Over 3,000 minerals, rocks, fossils and mining artifacts are on exhibit. Highlighting the collection are the colorful minerals from Arizona's copper mines. Among the spectacular individual specimens on display are an eight-foot specimen of native copper, a large quartz geode - each half weighing 240 pounds, rocks from the first Moon landing, and a fragment of Meteor Crater's meteorite weighing 206 pounds.

Exhibits of special interest encompass cases devoted to the lapidary arts featuring cabochons made of minerals from throughout Arizona, faceted gemstones, carved semi-precious bowls and spheres, well-known Arizona specimen localities, displays on mineral crystal systems, habits, causes of color, fulgarites, and fluorescent minerals.

The museum also exhibits the mineral collection of the Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum Foundation and the Mofford Gallery consisting of about 1000 items acquired by former Secretary of State and Governor Rose Mofford during her 51 years of government service.

Prominently displayed outside is the 43-foot tall Boras mine head frame, moved to Phoenix from Bisbee, Arizona. It has been placed along with an 1882 baby-gauge steam train locomotive from Phelps Dodge's Morenci mine. A mucker car and ore car have been set on rail in the front yard and a 19-foot tall 5-stamp mill has been added to the historic mining equipment. Contemporary open pit mining is represented by a 13 foot diameter tire from a 320 ton capacity mine haul truck and a 27 cubic yard bucket from an electric shovel. Don't miss the mural of the 320-ton haul truck!


The Museum hosts about 23,000 pre-school through college students per year on field trips. Each student may leave with 3 specimens selected from a special display. Yearly, the Museum provides about 1,000 Teachers' Mineral Kits and educational packets to Arizona teachers. To learn more about scheduling tours, see the school tours or Boy & Girl Scout tours web pages. The Museum also offers an outreach program for schools distant from the Phoenix metro area.

Special events including the Arizona Mineral Symposium, Family Day, and Prospectors Day are scheduled yearly. The Museum is the meeting place for gem, mineral, treasure-hunting, and prospecting clubs in Phoenix. A lapidary shop serves as a training ground for people interested in the lapidary arts and silversmithing. The shop is operated by an all-volunteer staff who also prepare materials for sale in the gift shop.

Gift Shop

The gift shop features mineral specimens, with a large selection of Arizona minerals and many items specially priced for students. Also offered for sale are jewelry; specialty rock items such as bookends; prospecting tools like gold pans; and books with over 300 titles on mineralogy, geology and mining. Proceeds from sales go to support education and other programs.


The Arizona Mineral Museum began as a Territorial Fair exhibit in 1884. It was so popular that in 1917, the Arizona State Legislature authorized funding to construct a mineral building on the State Fairgrounds. It was completed in 1919 with additional funds raised by the mining companies of Arizona. Excepting a hiatus for World War II, this building was home to annual Territorial and then State Fair exhibits until 1953 (and closed the rest of the year).

In 1953, six of the State's major mining companies agreed to underwrite the opening of a year-round Museum to be housed in the Mineral Building. In 1972, the Arizona Mining Association formally presented the Museum with all its materials and minerals to the Arizona Department of Mineral Resources. In October 1991, the Museum opened at its current location at 1502 West Washington. The museum now occupies a historic building, formerly the El Zaribah Shrine Temple, now renamed the Polly Rosenbaum Building.


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