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Historic gold nugget on display at Colorado museum

One of the largest gold nuggets ever found in Colorado is on display at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.

LEADVILLE, Colo. — The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum has had a busy summer, preparing its newest exhibit for the public.

"It’s called Leadville Thirst for Gold and it just opened a few weeks ago," curator Jordan Bennett said.

The collection of artifacts tells the story of the origins of mining in Leadville.

"The expansion of the business in Leadville to support the expanding city and various mines and smelters," said Bennett. "All told through local objects and illustrated newspapers."

It’s a story that’s also told with a gold nugget that’s at the center of the exhibit, called the Little Johnny Nugget.

"Little" is relative because at 24 ounces, it’s one of the biggest gold nuggets you can find in Colorado.

"The significance of this gold is more than just the weight itself, but the history behind it and the type of gold which is crystalline gold," said Bennett. "Being 24 ounces means it’s one of the biggest gold nuggets we have in Colorado."

Credit: 9News

The gold nugget is preserved and saved, a rare piece given most nuggets were destroyed and melted down. However, this nugget and its story remains, still attracting people like gold did more than 140 years ago.

"Gold just attracts the guests eyes and to see something so close and personable and almost feel like you can touch it, I think they really enjoy that," said Bennett.

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week in Leadville. The Thirst for Gold exhibit will be open for two years.

Credit: 9News
Credit: 9News


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