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An Ultimate Guide Through Sterling Hill Mining Museum

If that’s so, the world-renowned Sterling Hill Mining Museum would be the perfect place for you if you are keen on mining tours and zinc ores. It offers a collection of incredible mining exhibits and attractions. The Sterling Hill Mining Museum takes place in a small town named Ogdensburg in New Jersey. 

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the mine’s history. We’re also going to discuss the museums you can explore the exhibitions you can examine and the activities you can participate in.

Pack your stuff, get ready for a mining adventure, and keep reading to find out more incredible things about the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. The museum will amaze you with all the mining equipment, drilling and blasting demonstrations, it offers. So, follow us as we dive into it and see the Earth’s depths.

 

What To Expect

Mine Entrsnce
Image by www.njskylands.com

When entering the Sterling Hill Mine, a path of 1300-feet is what lies before you. There are no transportation trains, so the whole tour is by walking. What’s cool about the trip is that guides are available. They’ll show you some mining stations. Therefore explain to you the history behind those sites. Moreover, you’ll be able to check mining equipment, working conditions of past workers, and the geology of the mine.

What’s more, is that you’ll be able to explore the lamp room, the shaft station, and some impressive mine galleries dating back to the distant 1830. This tour is on the first level. Unfortunately, you aren’t allowed to go to any levels below that.

There are a couple of things you need to be aware of when you’re planning your visit to the mine. 

First of all, we should inform you that the ground is quite damp. The temperature is around 56 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. We suggest you pick a brighter jacket when you are exploring the mine.

Another thing you have to take into consideration is your shoes. Are they comfortable enough and water-resistant? If no, then at the end of the tour, you might find yourself with foot blisters and even having a cold due to the cold water.

If you have worries about the path being dark, you can put those fears to rest. The whole way is well lit, and you won’t need any flashlights or headlamps. And finally, the path in the mine is generally flat. There are no climbing areas available, making the tour accessible even to wheelchairs.

The Rainbow Tunnel

Sterling Hill
Image by https://news.minerals.net

One of the most notable, if not the most prominent, attractions in the museum is The Rainbow Tunnel. This area represents a significant mine wall showcasing intensely fluorescent zinc ores.

And to make the mining tour even more compelling, guides supporting you throughout your journey will expose the zinc ores to shortwave ultraviolet light. Thus, minerals will start to glow and emanate fluorescent bright green and red colors. The red color represents the calcite while the green stands for willemite. Willemite was the main zinc ore mineral mined here in the past.

The Rainbow Tunnel is definitely worth the attraction, and we highly suggested checking it out if you live adjacent to the mine. It will definitely leave you highly impressed.

Zobel Hall Museum

Sterling Hill Mine
Image by Jersey Kids

The next on our list of attractions is the Zobel Hall Museum. Boasting over 12,000 incredible mining items that have been entertaining audiences since the museum was open. Before this building took the name of the Zobel Hall Museum, it used to be the miner’s Change House. The miner’s Change House literally represented the first and the last stop of miner’s workday. It was similar to a dressing room. Every worker had a locker where he could put on his work clothes and prepare for work. At the end of the day, when workers have done vast amounts of work, they would hang their wet clothes on hangers and wait for them to dry overnight.

Most of the original lockers and hangers can be seen when you’re strolling around the Zobel Hall Museum. This is pretty cool since you’ll get an impression of how mine workers used to live back in the days. This area is absolutely stunning.

Multi-Million Dollar Mineral Display

Another exciting exhibition in the Zobel Hall Museum is the multi-million dollar mineral display. It was donated by the Oreck family. What’s unique about the Oreck gallery is that it contains hundreds of unique and fascinating mineral specimens. Truth be told, this is one of the finest, if not the finest, displays of minerals in New Jersey. There, you can find ores from China, Russia, and Africa. There are also displays of individual mineral species such as quartz, fluorite, calcite, stibnite, barite, celestine, and copper.

Fluorescent Mineral Display

Minerals
Image by john on flickr

After thoroughly reviewing the Multi-Million Dollar Mineral Display donated by the Oreck family, you can head to another fascinating display named “fluorescent mineral display”. This particular mineral display is 7-feet wide. It showcases crucial fluorescent minerals enticed from Sterling Hill and Franklin zinc mines. What makes this area unique is the fluorescent glow the crystals exude.

It merely leaves you amazed. Truth be told, this area serves as a preparation for the Warren Museum Of Fluorescence. This is the site where you’ll be able to explore a significant amount of mineral specimens from all over the world. And this will undoubtedly leave you with a jaw-dropping experience.

Periodic Table Display

Sterling Hill
Image by Jersey Kids

Finally, there’s an interactive 10-foot long display. It’s the place where you’ll be able to broaden your knowledge about all the different elements of the periodic table. What makes this area absolutely stand out is the table display. It contains 112 square-holes, each encompassing a tiny sample of the actual element designated on the box. You can also examine materials made from those specific elements. Truth be told, this is the largest display of the periodic table in the world. It will definitely amaze you.

Other Impressive Exhibits In The Zobel Hall Museum

As of final, once you’ve gone thoroughly through all of the attractions listed above, you’ll be able to examine some of Thomas Edison’s inventions. Mining equipment, machinery, and ore specimens are other exhibits you’ll also be able to explore in the Zobel Hall Museum.

 

Warren Museum Of Fluorescence

Smithsonian Lights
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Founded in 1999 by Thomas Warren, the Warren Museum Of Fluorescence takes place in four old rooms in the mill building from 1916. As we stated above, in this exhibition area, you’ll be able to explore hundreds of impressive fluorescent minerals; around 700 to be exact.

 

Sterling Hill Mining Museum: The Color Wall

First of all, your first stop upon entering the Warren Museum will be at the Color Wall. This extraordinary Color Wall is 16-feet wide. It begins from the ground and goes all the way up to the ceiling. It displays more than 100 fascinating fluorescent minerals. All mineral specimens are of different sizes and weights. Some are 2-3-feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. The uniqueness here stems from a subsequential lighting system.

Mining Museum
Image by https://www.smithsonianmag.com

First, the system displays the minerals on a longwave ultraviolet light. Then it switches to shortwave ultraviolet light so you can fully contemplate the bright colors coming out of the minerals.

And finally, you’ll be able to check every mineral specimen under both lights. Those lighting periods are followed by short spans of darkness. That’s because your eyes can effortlessly assimilate the colors the minerals exude.

The Color Wall is absolutely an area that is worth checking out.

 

Sterling Hill Mining Museum Touchable Displays

Next on our list of “incredible attractions in the Warren Museum Of Fluorescence” are the Touchable Displays. This is the area where fluorescent minerals are stacked upon open ore cars. Moreover, above the open ore cars, ultraviolet lights are available to make your experience even more compelling. Except for the fluorescence of the minerals, when you touch the specimens by yourself, your hands also become fluorescent. This exhibit will definitely keep your kids entertained for quite some time.

 

Sterling Hill Mining Museum: Theme Cases

Smitsonian
Image by https://www.smithsonianmag.com

Multiple theme cases are displayed here showcasing some incredible aspects of fluorescence. This is another area that will be instantly adored by your kids. Most of the themes display impressive mineral specimens, localities, and even activator elements. Equally beautiful as any other display in the Warren Museum, the Theme Cases allow you to learn a great deal about fluorescence. Truth be told, it’s quite an interesting topic for both adults and children. The Theme Cases area is absolutely a spectacular exhibit that must be seen by anyone living in the state of New Jersey.

There are a lot of sites and exhibits waiting to be explored in the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Any display uniquely catches your attention and amazes you. That’s why we recommend gathering your whole family when you’re planning a visit to the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Every member of your family will definitely be highly impressed after they’ve thoroughly examined every attraction the museum offers.

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