The museum opened to the public in 2002. The museum is located at the site of the dry house for the original Cliffs Shaft Mine, where ore was mined for nearly 100 years under the city of Ishpeming.
Now, residents and tourists have the opportunity to learn about the industry that helped build a city and mold a culture.
“We’re very unique — in the past, this was an actual working mining site,” said Joyce Smith, a volunteer at the museum. “This isn’t just a building with artifacts in it.”
The museum houses relics as old as 6,000 years, as well as displays depicting mining from the 1840s to today. Smith, whose father worked at the Cliffs Shaft Mine until its closure in 1967, said visitors will have a unique opportunity to hear firsthand what it was like to work at the Cliffs Shaft Mine.
“Visitors will get an appreciation for mining history,” she said. “It’s like you get invited into someone’s home. You hear stories from people who actually worked here.”
The museum is run by Marquette Range Iron Mining Heritage Theme Park Inc. The Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Club, the Marquette Genealogy Society and the Ishpeming Historical Society are all also involved with the museum. The Genealogy Society has volunteers available every Wednesday and Friday for those who may be interested in finding ancestors who were involved in the mining industry.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tours start at 11 a.m. and run until about 2:45 p.m. — there are usually about four per day. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for students 13 to 18 years old and free for kids under 12 when accompanied by an adult.
Marge Forslin and Lorana Jinkerson, both of Marquette, browse the many rocks and minerals on display at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum.