One of North America’s premier mineral museums, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum is nationally and internationally recognized by mineral collectors and connoisseurs. Featuring the largest public exhibit and finest collection of minerals from the Great Lakes region and the world’s best collection of Michigan minerals, the museum exhibits feature the rich colors of nature's masterpieces. While visitors marvel, they learn about minerals through informative displays and discover how minerals are important in your life.
The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum was officially founded in 1902 and it was designated as the official Mineral Museum of Michigan in 1991. It is the unofficial Mineral Museum of the Great Lakes Region and draws thousands of visitors each year to the campus of Michigan Technological University, originally founded as the Michigan College of Mines in 1885.
The City of Houghton was named after Douglass Houghton, whose lifesized oil painting from the 1870s is prominently exhibited in the main museum building. Read more about Douglass Houghton. Houghton was Michigan's First State Geologist and his 1841 report sparked the first great mining rush in North America to Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula beginning in 1845 to mine native copper first discovered by native peoples some 7,000 years ago. The museum is a repository of iconic specimens of copper and over 100 other minerals from the modern copper mining era in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which ended in 1996.
The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum relocated to a permanent newly constructed building at 1404 E. Sharon Avenue in the spring of 2011. The main museum building houses the Thomas D. Shaffner Exhibit Hall, a collection management area, a mineral conservation laboratory, and museum staff offices. Unexpectantly, the building was constructed on top of a past producing native copper mine, the Mabbs Vein. Read about the history of the Mabbs Vein and its connection to the museum.
Today, the museum complex consists of the:
- Main museum building
- Phyllis and John Seaman Garden
- Copper Pavilion
- Mineral Preparation Annex