The W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum at the University of Nevada in Reno is more diverse than its name may imply. Located in the Mackay School of Mines building, the museum is home to an incredible collection of ores, minerals, photographs and fossil specimens, as well as mining artifacts that highlight early mining history in Nevada. Founded in 1908 to house rock, minerals and fossils both from here in Nevada and across the globe, the museum has grown to its impressive size today thanks to a generous grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation in 1988.
Visitors to the W.M. Keck Museum are treated to outstanding displays of minerals that are housed in cases built in the early 1900s and installed when the museum opened in 1908.Other interesting exhibits and displays include a raised relief map of Nevada, ore specimens from around the world that include impressive pieces of copper from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, mineral collections donated by noted alumni, and artifacts such as survey chains, gold pans, bullion scales and more. One of the most amazing displays at the W.M. Keck Museum holds the fossilized remains of a mastodon that dates back three million years. The fossil was discovered in 2000 near Gardnerville, and both faculty and students from the Mackay School of Mines worked to excavate and prepare the remains.
With all this and more, visitors to the W.M. Keck Museum should plan to visit more than once to fully appreciate the museum’s geological and historical offerings. But that’s not a problem – admission is free.