Oreck Mineral Gallery at sterling hill mining museum nj Sterling Hill Mining Museum, NJ

What's Here: Collections & Archives

Stamp mill mining machine at sterling hill mining museum in new jersey
Stamp Mill.

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum possesses the following collections:

Industrial mining equipment spanning three centuries, including stamp mills, ball mills, arrastras, dozens of ore cars, man cars and ore skips, sheave wheels, compressors, rock drills, and sinking buckets. Most of these items are on display either outdoors or in Zobel Exhibit Hall. A display of historic rock drills has been installed in the mine.

rock crusher, mining equipment on display at sterling hill mining museum
Mining Equipment.

Mining artifacts including hand tools (hammers, chisels, feathers, wedges, fuse crimpers), mine lamps (candle picks, oil lamps, carbide lamps, electric battery lamps), miners' lunch buckets, carbide cans, blasting boxes, dynamite warmers, safety equipment, and ultraviolet lamps. Hundreds of such items are on view in Zobel Exhibit Hall, and several display cases of historic ultraviolet lamps are on view in the Thomas S. Warren Museum of Fluorescence.

Laboratory and assay equipment including balances, cupels, field assay kits, blowpipes, a wide range of glassware, burners, and a 16-ft-long soapstone laboratory bench, restored with period equipment to its original appearance. The laboratory bench is housed in our Geotech Center, and the other items are on view in two large display cases in Zobel Exhibit Hall.

Ores and minerals, including a dozen large masses (4-5 ft across) of common ores of zinc, aluminum, and copper, in open displays in the Zobel Exhibit Hall, and dozens of fine gold specimens displayed in a large floor safe in the same building. Excellent examples of other ores are also on display, and the museum maintains a growing collection of worldwide ores for instructional, scientific, and archival purposes.

Miner Sculpture at New Jersey Attraction Sterling Hill Mine
Bronze sculpture of a Miner and a Boy.
Fluorescent mineral rock on display at new jersey mine

Fluorescent minerals, both local and worldwide. About 700 specimens are on public display in the Thomas S. Warren Museum of Fluorescence, and hundreds more are maintained in a comprehensive reference collection.

A library containing hundreds of texts on mining, mining history, mineralogy, gemology, and geology, along with extended runs of well-known periodicals in the same subjects.

Historic mining maps and blueprints, principally of the Franklin-Sterling Hill area, kept in a secured room.

Mining-related art, including oil paintings and bronze statues, some of them nearly life-size. These items are on display in various places outdoors, in Zobel Exhibit Hall, and in the Gift Shop.

Image archive documenting the history of mining and quarrying in northern New Jersey. The images include glass-plate negatives, black-and-white prints, color prints and slides, and a growing collection of electronic images.

Miscellaneous items, including three-dimensional mine models showing the Franklin and Sterling Hill orebodies, compressed-air mine whistles, and numerous items of presentation memorabilia from the New Jersey Zinc Company.

working mine at sterling hill mine in the past

Terms of Use

The library, map room, and photo archive are available by appointment only, and generally only to qualified researchers or those with a compelling reason to access these materials. At present we have insufficient staff to make these facilities public. We require that these materials be studied on-site, and only rarely will we permit their removal on loan to an external facility. A photocopy machine is available in our offices and may be used for a nominal fee.

These restrictions are relaxed somewhat with respect to the literature on the Franklin and Sterling Hill zinc deposits. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Pete J. Dunn, retired mineralogist from the Smithsonian Institution, the museum possesses a nearly complete collection — more than 1,090 papers - of the published literature on these two deposits. The master file is accessible only to museum staff, but a duplicate file may be examined by members of the public, provided an appointment is made with the museum curator (Dr. Earl R. Verbeek, phone 973-209-7212, e-mail shmm@ptd.net). Papers in the duplicate file may be photocopied for a nominal fee.

The museum's mineral, ore, and rock collections generally are open only to qualified researchers working on specific research projects leading to publication. Sorry, but due to staff restrictions, intellectual curiosity is insufficient reason for granting access to these collections.

Personnel Records
We receive numerous inquiries from those wishing information on former employees of the New Jersey Zinc Company at Sterling Hill. We wish we could help, but most personnel records were destroyed by the company shortly after it ceased operations at Sterling Hill in 1986. Beyond a few group photographs taken at company functions, the museum possesses no records relating to the people who worked here.