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Out and About: World Museum of Mining in Butte digs into underground mining's past

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 16, 2024

BUTTE — If you've ever wondered what it was like to be an underground miner in Butte then you need to come to the World Museum of Mining. They can tell you everything you want to know about the history of mining in Butte.

“You’re stepping back in time. We get that comment often; when you walk out, you feel like you’ve gone to the past and you really live it and you can just experience what it may have been like,” said Museum Director Jeanette Kopf.

The museum is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. It features a replica of an early mining town, artifacts from Butte’s mining past, and an actual underground mine.

"Often we hear somebody comes in and they’re going to spend half an hour, 45 minutes. Three hours later, they say they haven’t seen everything," Kopf said.

There’s also a memorial that honors the hundreds of known miners who were killed while working Butte’s mines.

“We opened to honor the mining that happened in Butte and the culture that that created,” said Kopf.

People can tour the locker rooms and equipment miners used. People can also book a tour of the Orphan Girl—an actual underground mine that is no longer operating.

“You really get a feel as to the conditions that the miners worked. People come out with more of a respect for the job," Kopf said. "A miner’s life was not easy, that it was a lot of hard work and they had to have been some dedicated workers."

The World Museum of Mining is located just west of the Montana Tech campus.