Missouri Mines State Historic Site

4000 State Highway 32, Park Hills, MO 63601 - United States



Lead has been big business in the eastern Ozarks since about 1720. Come explore its history – and see the processing plant of the former St. Joe Lead Company – in the heart of the Old Lead Belt at Missouri Mines State Historic Site. The mine’s former powerhouse has been turned into a museum that interprets the area’s lead mining history, displays actual machinery from the mines and houses one of the Midwest's finest mineral collections.


The first of three museum galleries in the powerhouse contains underground mining equipment, such as the St. Joe Shovel, a man-carrying "speeder" and "electric mule" locomotives that replaced men and mules for moving cars of ore. The second gallery includes exhibits on lead, geology and mineral resources, and features an outstanding systematic mineral collection, as well as an array of fluorescent minerals. A small theater is used to show a 12-minute video depicting underground mining and the ore milling process in the Old Lead Belt as an introduction for visitors. This gallery also features a museum shop, where related books, minerals, mineral jewelry, rock hound equipment and souvenirs may be purchased. The third gallery contains giant air compressors that supplied air power underground to run the pneumatic drills and other equipment. This gallery eventually will contain exhibits on mining history and technology.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.