Lead mining built Galena. While native Americans had sporadically mined lead for thousands of years, it was the arrival of Europeans that led to the first major mineral rush in U.S. history.
Our exhibits document this saga, with original mining tools displayed, as well as a life-size windlass
Original 1830s lead mine shaft now open for viewing. The only one in the state of Illinois. Get up close and personal with our 30' mine shaft, a remnant from the days when lead mines flourished in the very heart of present-day Galena.