ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) – Once inside the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum you are set back in time to the late 17th and 18th-century mining town of Ishpeming giving museum-goers a glimpse into the lives of the people who once walked through its tunnels and beyond.
“The museum tour starts in the back in our rock and the mineral display room where the tour guides usually show a scale model of where you are and what it looked like as a mine back when it was operating,” Craig Ilmonen, Executive Director of the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum said. “Then they will take you through our museum and bring you down through our tunnel which leads you to the tallest shaft headframe that we have, the C cap headframe. When we are down there we will explain the process of underground iron mining along with the history and the process of what happens to the ore after it comes out of the ground.”
The mining industry’s roots run deep in the history of Marquette County and believe it or not if it weren’t for this industry, we wouldn’t have many of the things that we have to this day.
“If you come to our museum you’re going to probably drive a vehicle and that was made with iron ore,” Ilmonen said. “When you come to the museum you are coming into our building that is made with iron ore, you probably ate breakfast out of your refrigerator that was made with iron ore and cooked it on your stove or in your oven that was made with iron ore. Everything that you do on a daily basis involves iron ore in one way or another.”
The Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm. Hour-long guided tours will also run at 10:30 am, 11:45 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:15 pm.