Established as a tribute to the Gold Rush, the Heritage Museum displays artifacts from the 19th century gold mining era and from the Miwoks, early Native American inhabitants who lived in this area. This wonderful collection includes photos, mining maps, personal articles carried from the "Old Countries" around the world, and other artifacts. There are examples of letters written by miners to family and friends back home.
The focal point of Ironstone's Heritage Museum is the largest Crystalline Gold Leaf specimen in the world. Weighing forty-four pounds, this specimen of gold was discovered in 1992 by the Sonora Mining Company, on Christmas Day, just fifteen miles from its current home at Ironstone. Crystalline Gold is one of the most rare and precious natural gold formations consisting of gold that has been deposited in layers between quartz, clay, maraposite, decomposed shale and pyrite.
The “Gold Pocket”, as it has come to be known, is 98 percent pure, making it a specimen of exceedingly high quality and value. Sixty-three pounds before preparation, it spent almost a year in an acid bath washing away most of the surrounding matrix to ultimately reveal the forty-four pound specimen that is on display at the winery. The stone entrance to the crystalline gold display is reminiscent of an early "forty-niners" gold mine with its massive stone face and broad beam construction.
The Heritage Museum also features a vast display of natural gold specimens acquired from modern-day prospectors who are still very active in the Sierra Foothills. Visitors to the museum can purchase a wide variety of books and educational materials, as well as artifacts and souvenirs related to the Gold Rush era.
Ironstone's Heritage Museum hosts school children from throughout California and the world, welcoming them as they visit to learn about California's early history. For more information about school tours to the Heritage Museum, phone (209) 728-1251 x47.
Jewelry Shoppe and Museum: Monday-Friday 11am-4pm; Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day