All photos, text & graphics copyrighted 2004 - John Veevaert

On my return trip from the 2004 Costa Mesa show I decided to veer right on hwy 99 and head for Mariposa where the California State Mining and Mineral Museum is now located.  This material was originally housed in the Ferry Building in San Francisco but was moved to this locale, in the Mother Lode region of California, about 15 years ago.

Mariposa is a small gold mining era town situated in the Sierran foot hills at the junction of Hwys 140 & 49 about half way between the Central Valley and Yosemite National Park.

I first saw specimens from this collection when it was still at the Ferry Building in 1980.  This was my first opportunity to see the museum since that time.

The museum is divided into three themes - with a simulated underground mining display to give you a sense of what it is like in a mine, a large area devoted to explaining what mining is; what mining has occurred and is occurring in California; how man uses minerals, and of course an equally large area with displays of specimens of minerals with an emphasis on California.

Museum curator, Peggy Ronning, who is quite friendly and approachable, explained that she inherited a collection of over 13,000 mineral specimens! Only a small fraction are currently on display.  She is actively working to get the specimens organized as there was some level of confusion with the move from San Francisco to Mariposa.  A daunting task given that the "show must go on" while the work on it is being done.

I spent about 1 hour there taking pictures and viewing the minerals.  Below are pictures of what is on display.  There are several hundered minerals on display so this only represents just a small fraction.

The golden bear nugget is famous for its crystals and obvious ursal form. The reproduction is about 8 cm
from top to bottom.  The specimen on the right is benitoite with lustrous crystals to 2 cm across. There are three
large cases devoted to benitoite and minerals from the Benitoite Gem Mine at the museum.

I could not resists taking pictures of two specimens from Trinity county where I live. The platinum nugget, found about 8 miles
west of Weaverville, on the left is just shy of 3 cm across! The inesite specimen from Hale Creek has the best color for inesite
found at the mine which is situated in southern Trinity County.


Here are two more specimens from California: Wulfenite from the Darwin district and a 1 cm dodecahedral crystal of gold from Mariposa County.


There are other specimens from global localities including this fine specimen of liroconite
from Cornwall and this large cabinet specimen of stibnite from Japan.


There is an interactive fluorescent mineral display which allows visitors to view minerals in
room light and under ultraviolet light.  I also saw this large malachite specimen from Bisbee.


Thanks again to Peggy Ronning for the fine displays and positive energy!

For further information you can contact the museum at:

California State
Mining & Mineral Museum
PO BOX 1192
Mariposa, California
phone:  209-742-7625


The Firenze Mineral Museum
Florence, Italy
The Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC
The Milan Museum of Natural History &
The Federico Pezzotta Elba Island Collection
The California Mining & Mineral Museum 
Mariposa, California
The Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Los Angeles, California

Trinity Mineral Co Tsumeb Mineral Shows Mineral Books Mineral Auctions Mineral Museums Benitoite Mine Rare Minerals

All text, specimen images, and graphics are copyrighted © 2001-2006 - John Veevaert