Groundbreaking Wednesday for New Mineral Museum Building

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Artist's rendering of the new Seaman Mineral Museum. OHM drawing.
Artist's rendering of the new Seaman Mineral Museum. OHM drawing.

Michigan Technological University will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the future site of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

The museum and its 25,000 specimens will be housed in a new building adjacent to the Advanced Technology Development Complex, on Sharon Avenue. General contractor Moyle Construction, of Houghton, has begun work on the 9,000-square-foot structure, which will open for visitors in summer 2011.

Tom Shaffner, a 1957 alumnus of Michigan Tech, has pledged $1 million toward the $1.5 million project, which is being funded initially through a bond issue. Other donors have committed amounts totaling several hundred thousand dollars.

Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz will host the groundbreaking, and State Rep. Mike Lahti is expected to attend.

“It’s a new beginning,” said Museum Director Ted Bornhorst. The museum home has been on the fifth floor of Tech’s Electrical Energy Resources Center, located on the main campus, since the building was completed in the mid-1970s. “The current space no longer meets the needs of the museum and its visitors,” Bornhorst said. The new location will provide better access. In particular, museum patrons will have free, convenient parking.

The museum’s ultimate home is proposed to be near the Quincy Mine and Hoist in Hancock, a heritage site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, subject to the availability of funding. In the meantime, the new building will provide a very satisfactory way station. “The new building site is a win-win for us, as it can meet the museum’s needs for the foreseeable future, regardless of the time it takes to move to Quincy Hill,” Bornhorst said. “This allows us to be an ever greater asset to the University and to continue on our path to national and international recognition.”

The museum’s move makes the fifth floor of the Electrical Energy Resources Center available for expanded research activity. The new Center for Computer Systems Research will be a collaboration of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 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.