Museu de Minas Ouro Prêto

Museu de Ciência e Técnica da Escola de Minas

Useful Information

Location: Praça Tiradentes 20, Ouro Prêto
Open: All year Tue-Sun 12-17.
Fee: Adults RBL 5, Children (0-5) free. [2007]
Classification: Mining and mineral museum
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided, D=90 min.
Address: Museu de Minas, Praça Tiradentes 20, Ouro Prêto, Tel: +55-31-3559-1597. Museu de Ciência e Técnica da Escola de Minas/UFOP - Ouro Preto, Praça Tiradentes, 20, Ouro Preto, MG - CEP - 35400-000, Tel: +55-31-3559-3119, Tel: +55-31-3559-1597, Fax: +55-31-3559-3119. E-mail: contact
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1741 building erected as the Governor's house.
1875 the French schientist Claude Henri Gorceix came to Ouro Prêto.
1897 capital moved to Belo Horizonte, Governor moved too.
1898 reused as administrative building for the Escola de Minas.


The Museu de Minas at Ouro Prêto displays the scientific background of the local mining history. The ground floor contains the natural history collection, which means stuffed and in formaldehyde preserved animals. But there is also the newest exhibition of the museum, a showroom with perfect lighting and dramatic black backdrops. It shows gemstones, opals, emeralds, topaz, quartz, and almost 2,000 lesser-known varieties. This is definitely the dramatic highlight of a visit to the world center of gemstone mining.

The upper level shows the rest of the mineral collection, stored in hundreds of small wooden cabinets are 18,000 samples. This is less dramatic, but far more interesting to the earnest mineral collector, this mineral collection is the highlight of the museum. There is also a exhibition about mining technology during the centuries, showing both a collection of modern equipment and some original tools from the past.

The museum's full name is Museu de Ciência e Técnica da Escola de Minas (Museum of Science and Technology of the School of Mines). Beneath the already listed sections, there are also electrical engineering, metallurgy, siderurgy, and surveying. The museum was founded by Claude Henri Gorceix, a French scientist who came to Ouro Prêto in 1875 and founded both the Escola de Minas and the museum. The collection is based on the small collection he brought with him from the Laboratório de Mineralogia e Geologia in Rio de Janeiro. During the decades it was increased by donations from former pupils, professors, collectors, and friends of the School of Mines. Claude Henri Gorceix is buried in the same building, in the floor of the Chapel of the Governor's Palace.