Nevada State Museum Silver Mine Exhibit

Useful Information

Location: 600 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701.
(39.167890, -119.767440)
Open: All year Tue-Sun 8:30-16:30.
Fee: Adults USD 10, Children (0-17) free.
Classification: MineSilver Mine SubterraneaReplica Underground Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Nevada State Museum, 600 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701-4004, Tel: +1-775-687-4810.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1859 discovery of silver.
1869 sandstone Mint building in Renaissance Revival style completed.
1870 beginning of silver coin minting.
1874 silver mining declines.
1893 end of minting.
1920s last silver mines closed.
1950 mine replica opened to the public.



The Nevada State Museum in Carson City is a Natural History Museum, which has a number of different historic and geologic exhibitions. The fossil exhibition is great, there is even a skeleton of a mammoth. But the replica of a nevada Silver mine is not even mentioned on their website. Nevertheless, many visitors have published comments and reviews of the site.

The museum is located in the Carson City U.S. Mint Building, where coins were minted from 1870 to 1893. The Mint was established in Carson City to be close to the mining districts of the state. It produced silver coins from the local silver of the "Silver State". The Comstock Lode silver strike was in 1859. The major silver discovery was made by the Grosh Brothers, but the lode was named for the American miner Henry Comstock. It was the reason for Nevada silver rush, only ten years after the California gold rush. And as always with rushes, it was short-lived. After 15 years most mines were exhausted, production declined. Some underground mines which followed bigger veins lasted until the 1920s. But production had massively diminished by 1893, when local minting of silver coins was stopped.

So the museum tour actually starts with an exhibit on silver coins which were minted here, and the Coin Press No. 1, which is still in working condition. Manufactured by Morgan & Orr in Philadelphia it arrived at the Carson City Mint in 1869. The first coin was struck in 1870, a Liberty Seated dollar, with the mint mark CC for Carson City. On Saturday the coin press is operated for a few hours and visitors can buy half ounce .999 fine silver planchet and have them minted.

The Nevada State Museum Silver Mine Exhibit is a replica underground silver mine, with tunnels, wooden support, machinery and displays with mining tools and ores. It was built into the basement of the museum, which offers the right atmosphere. The exhibit starts with the replica of a typical old western mining camp ghost town. The mine replicas was created 1950 with a gift of $50,000 from the Fleischmann Foundation and many gifts of materials from local people and industry. The walls and ceiling are plastered with actual minerals and ore, mostly from the Comstock. The tunnels have mine car tracks on the floor and plumbing for compressed air and water. There is the elevator cage and floor from an old shaft on the Comstock. A powder magazine shows costumed figures preparing dynamite and fuses. Men operating drills, loading ore carts and performing other tasks in the tunnels are shown.

Things for which the space was too limited, are shown in the form of models. A miniature stamp mill is operated by pushing a button and demonstrates how the cams lifted the heavy stamps and let them fall to crush the ore. This model even produces the annoying sound they make.