In 1970, the Museum of the West was incorporated as a private non-profit with a mission to preserve and interpret the rich mining history of Colorado and the American West. The nucleus of the collection was a group of mining artifacts contributed to the museum by Mr. Frederick McMenemy Farrar and Mrs. Katherine Thatcher Farrar.
In 1972 the name was changed to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry to better define the museum focus. The museum received its full accreditation by the American Association of Museum in 1979 and, in acknowledgment of its high standards and successes, was re-accredited in 1980 and 2000.
Over 4,000 artifacts are on display at the 27-acre indoor/outdoor exhibit site; which includes a ten-stamp ore mill, a multi-purpose center with exhibits, a theater and a 5,000-volume research library. The entire exhibit complex is an exciting and exceptional tool for learning about Colorado history, mining and industrial technology, geology, and the environment.