Open Daily from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day
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.
Gold Leaf Specimen
The focal point of Ironstone's Heritage Museum is the largest Crystalline Gold Leaf specimen in the world. Weighing 44 pounds, this specimen of gold was discovered on Christmas Day in 1992 by the Sonora Mining Company; just twenty miles from its current home at Ironstone Vineyards. 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. Weighing in at sixty-three pounds prior to preparation, the Crystalline Gold Leaf specimen spent nearly a year in an acid bath. The process washed away most of the surrounding matrix, thus revealing the 44 pounds specimen you see today. 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.