Ben E Clement Mineral Museum
A half-day visit to this Kentucky rock museum is guaranteed to both fascinate and inform. Home to thousands of unique minerals, from the personal collection of the late Ben E Clement, it has some of the world’s most spectacular fluorite crystals. These glow-in-the-dark crystals have serious ‘wow factor’!
Clement was a miner who arrived in Kentucky in the early 20th century, with dreams of running his very own fluorspar business. His mines went on to provide minerals to the surrounding region’s steel industry. Over time, he turned his attention instead to the private mineral market, supplying collectors. It was his own personal collection he amassed that he then turned into the museum.
As well as the massive selection of gems to admire, there are many other artefacts for visitors to peruse…a collection of prehistoric fossils (including a fossilized dinosaur egg!); a room filled with pre-industrial mining equipment; and even a chunk of meteorite that crashed over Providence long ago. Furthermore, to make sure this attraction fully ticks the ‘quirky’ box, there’s a rock that bears a strange resemblance to Robert Smith from The Cure!
Museum staff are well-practiced at regaling tourists with tales of local history and legends, as well as explaining the many uses for the minerals it is home to. If you’re lucky to visit at just the right time, you might be able to take part in an actual dig and maybe discover your very own mineral treasure (the digs are held monthly from April to October).
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