Board OK's Purchase of Land for New Mineral Museum

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

On Sept. 29, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of property to be developed as the new site of the Seaman Mineral Museum.

The transaction paves the way for the university to begin construction and renovation at the museum’s future location, north of the Quincy Mine Hoist of the Keweenaw National Historical Park on U.S. 41 in Hancock. The property will be purchased from the Quincy Mine Hoist Association for $2,000.

“I’m very pleased to see this come to fruition,” said Board Chair Mike Henricksen. “The new museum will be a very valuable asset to the university.”

The museum complex will include the old Quincy Mine blacksmith and machine shops, as well as a service center for visitors and administrative offices.

The next step will be to begin the first phase of the $15 million project, restoring the machine shop, which will cost an estimated $5 million. Construction will begin next year, using $1.7 million in federal funding.

“We’re looking forward to developing the site into a world-class museum that will have a dramatic impact on the university as well as the local community,” said Ted Bornhorst, director of administration at the Seaman Mineral Museum.

Once it is completed, planners estimate that the museum could draw 100,000 or more visitors a year to the Keweenaw, helping to elevate awareness of Michigan Tech among the general public and prospective students and their families.

“We will have exhibits on par with those you’d see at the Smithsonian, in Washington, DC,” Bornhorst said. “The Seaman Museum will be the jewel in the crown of Michigan Tech.”

The museum is currently located on the fifth floor of the Electrical Energy Resources Center at Michigan Tech, and moving it will also free up badly needed instructional space on campus, Henricksen noted.

“On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank Stan Dyl [the museum director of advancement and planning], Ted Bornhorst and Curator George Robinson for all they’ve done to make this move possible,” he added.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.