In 1901, six 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 the generous donations of individuals including Montana Tech alumni.
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.
About 1,300 mineral specimens are on display.