Museum History

In 1901, 6 months after the first students enrolled at Montana Tech (then called the Montana School of Mines), 177 mineral specimens were purchased by the school for teaching purposes. Since then, the collection has grown to approximately 12,000 specimens, mainly through generous donations.

The Mineral Museum was originally located on the upper floor of Main Hall (the building directly north of the Museum Building). In 1930, the Museum was moved to the ground floor of Main Hall, allowing for more space for displays. The Library-Museum building was completed in 1940 and the Museum was moved to its current location. However, the room served a dual function as an auditorium and as a museum. Alcoves on both sides of the main floor provided storage space for chairs that were set up for assemblies and special events. The mineral display cases had wheels and could be rolled into the alcoves when the auditorium was in use. Between 1940 and 1979 commencement exercises for the college were held in the auditorium. Finally in 1979, the new auditorium was constructed, allowing the Museum to remain open on permanent display.