More than 4,000 artifacts. A 27-acre campus and 5,000-volume research library. These numbers just begin to describe the massive collection gathered at Western Museum of Mining and Industry. The institution's staff delve into history as miner's burrow into the ground, finding and preserving the stories and items that fueled the industrial revolution. The standing collection focuses largely on artifacts; visitors can see a ten-stamp ore mill up close, a large machine designed to crush rock so that people could extract the precious ore that lay within and see if any of the stones were filled with jelly.
The venue also regularly hosts special presentations in its multipurpose center, featuring events in the past such as The Gold King's Legacy, an exploration of Winfield Scott Stratton's Cripple Creek mining operation. Led by Mark Turk, executive director of the Myron Stratton Home, the discussion explores Stratton's story, and the forces that ultimately led him to found the Myron Stratton Home as a means to provide for "poor persons who are without means of support and who are physically unable by reason of old age, youth sickness or other infirmity to earn a livelihood."
Garden of the Gods Trading Post was built in the 1920s by trader Charles Strausenback and continues to sell goods today, with an array of updated offerings such as keepsakes, Native American art, and café sandwiches. The Manitou Outpost feathers necks with gold leaf pendants ($12.99+), sheaths feet in soft suede and moosehide Minnetonka moccasins ($38+), and enlivens shelves with keepsakes such as miniature painted ponies ($32.99+), whose neighing registers as soprano squeaks. After walking among the Pueblo pottery ($465+) and Navajo weavings ($310+), guests at the Balanced Rock Grill can indulge in a buffalo burger ($7.50) or unwrap a dried tomato tortilla gorged with spicy chicken and cheddar cheese ($7.95). Patrons can also people-watch at outside tables while sipping from a tap beer ($4.50) and discussing the complications of fashioning mukluks from Yeti hide.