World Museum of Mining Part 1

July 19, 2016  •  2 Comments

If you ever have the chance to get to the World Museum of Mining in Butte, MT - GO!   That said, allow yourself plenty of time (we did a fairly good pace and were there 4 hours - including the underground tour which was worth doing but not a requirement).   Don't worry if you aren't all that "in to" mining because just the general historical stuff will amaze you.    It was well worth the admission cost and they have done an amazing job putting together their displays.    Because there was so much to see I of course have loads of photos and what information I can actually remember.    There will be multiple posts covering all we saw there.

Our first stop while waiting to go underground was the AMAZING doll collection and doll house exhibit right there off the gift shop.  Certainly not expected at a "mining" museum but then this whole place had much more than mining.  I'm going to give you the scoop off of the information sign that was in the exhibit:

Samie Jane Keith, daughter of Cathryn and Bevo Keith was born July 9, 1932 in Anaconda, Montana.  Her family moved from Anaconda to her life-long home in Ramsay in 1937, making her Ramsay's longest continuous resident.

Samie worked as the secretary for the Domestic Manganese Development Co. after her high school graduation.  She joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1959 and retired in 1994 as the State administrative assistant, after 35 years of faithful service.

Samie's interests were varied and colorful, including everything from antiques, dolls, dollhouses, collectibles and old cars to mystery books, musicals and theater.  A special passion in Samie's life was her beloved Boston terriers - "the boys".  Samie and her Boston terriers, Sherlock (Holmes) and Agatha (Christie), could be seen daily cruising around Butte or down the highway looking for something new to add to one of her collections.  In the summer you would find her breezing around in her 1930 Model A Ford.

Two of Sami's prized accomplishments were her doll house village, similar to the small mining town of Philipsburg, Montana, representing the age of elegance between the late 19th and 20th centuries and her doll collections.  Samie's passion for collecting dolls began at an early age.  She was notorious for arranging them throughout her rooms, but not often playing with them.  This explains the perfect condition of most of her doll collection.   She received her first dollhouse for Christmas in 1943, which resulted in the beginning of her extensive dollhouse collection.   When she could no longer add rooms to her dollhouse, she purchased or constructed new ones.  At the time of her death, she was working on a miniature dollhouse of the famous 221B Baker Street, the residence of Sherlock Holmes.

The World Museum of Mining played a large role in her life.  She and her mother donated materials and countless hours to help build the Museum we know today.  When the Mining Museum opened in 1963, Samie served as its first Secretary, a position she held for 20 years.

Samie passed away in February of 2005.  According to her wishes, Samie's amazing dolls, miniatures and dollhouse collections were donated to the Mining Museum so everyone could continue to enjoy her life-long hobbies.

In addition each of the doll houses, and I bet there were 50 or more, contains somewhere in it, a figure of a Boston terrier.

You'll see reflections in some of the photographs due to taking them through glass but you'll get the idea and this doesn't even touch the surface of all that was there.   Each and every doll house was filled to the brim with detailed furnishings.  I could definitely have spent more than the 20 minutes we spent in there.

Then we were off to the underground tour.   One of the students from Montana Tech (School of Mines and Engineering) gave the tour (a young bleached blonde with "Pink" sweat pants) and goes to show - don't judge based on appearance.  She did a GREAT job detailing the information for the tour of the Hoist House and the mine.    Of course I didn't bother with photos underground and frankly by the time we headed out my head was pounding from the smell of the sulphur.

Two of our miners.  


Linda W(non-registered)
You're right - I wouldn't have expected a doll collection at a mining museum! But I studied mining engineering in college so I'd be interested in the mining part of the museum - and the underground tour. I've been underground at the Homestake gold mine in Lead, SD three times. And I went to Butte once in college for the World Mining competition (I think it was called "mining and mucking" competition)
Gunilla Bäck(non-registered)
I love the doll houses. The details in those are just amazing.
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