Ironstone Heritage Museum

The Ironstone Heritage Museum features Native American and Gold Rush artifacts, as well as the largest crystalline gold leaf specimen ever pulled out of the Mother Lode.

Ironstone Heritage Museum gold leaf specimen

It might be small, but the Ironstone Heritage Museum contains some fascinating Native American and California Gold Rush artifacts and was actually established as a tribute to that historic time and to the Miwok who inhabited the area before the mass influx of mining hopefuls. The Gold Rush collection includes photos, mining maps and personal artifacts including letters written by miners to friends and family back home giving an intimate peek into what life was really like for these 19th century adventurers.

Ironstone Museum Gold Leaf Vault

Ironstone Heritage Museum | Vault for the gold leaf specimen

The centerpiece of the museum is the largest crystalline gold leaf specimen ever found in the Mother Lode. A massive 44 pounds in size, the piece is beautifully formed and handsomely displayed.

The “Gold Pocket”, as it has come to be known, is 98 percent pure, making it a specimen of exceedingly high quality and value. Sixty-three pounds before preparation, it spent almost a year in an acid bath washing away most of the surrounding matrix to ultimately reveal the forty-four pound specimen that is on display at the winery. The stone entrance to the crystalline gold display is reminiscent of an early “forty-niners” gold mine with its massive stone face and broad beam construction.

Ironstone Museum wagon

Ironstone Heritage Museum | wagon

The Heritage Museum also features a vast display of natural gold specimens acquired from modern-day prospectors who are still very active in the Sierra Foothills. Visitors to the museum can purchase a wide variety of books and educational materials, as well as artifacts and souvenirs related to the Gold Rush era.

In addition, carefully selected jewelry is available for purchase in their jewelry shop within the museum, including treasures such as gold-in-quartz jewelry, natural gold nuggets and nugget jewelry, as well as an impressive collection of diamond, emerald, turquoise and other precious and semi-precious gem artistry.

Related links: Ironstone Weddings | Ironstone Vineyards Summer Concert Series | Ironstone Vineyards | Full list of Calaveras museums

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