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A beautiful mine 

Mining museum sees inspiration in yesteryear's innovation

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Dwindling natural resources and new fuel technologies are among the ever-present topics of national scrutiny. And to fully grasp our reliance on fossil fuels and the spirit of innovation necessary to usher in a new era, a look backward can't hurt.

The Western Museum of Mining & Industry will reveal such a glimpse into the past this weekend, at its third annual Model Engineering & Innovation Show. Visitors will see steam engines, antique stationary engines and hundreds of working models, both small and full-scale, as well as lathe and milling demonstrations.

Brad Poulson, the museum's director of education, describes the invitational exhibit as "all the bells, whistles and horns from the Industrial Revolution to the gas-powered marvels of the mid-20th century." Take, for example, the belt-drive tractor: First, see a scale model inside, then, put that model in perspective by taking a outdoor hayride behind a vintage tractor. Also, witness the rare, annual operation of the museum's 1890s Yellow Jacket II gold-ore-processing stamp mill a 12-foot, five-ton crowd-pleaser.

The show serves, in a sense, as a visual technology timeline through history. Poulson describes the relevance of it, and the museum itself, as tied to Colorado's historic and ongoing mining livelihood.

"Our nonprofit museum's founders felt a debt of gratitude to this state and wanted to show how important mining was to the American West, and how critical the industry is to our future," says Poulson. "Mining is integral to our 21st-century lifestyle."

capsule

Third annual Model Engineering & Innovation Show

The Western Museum of Mining & Industry, 225 N. Gate Blvd.

June 9-11, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission free for museum members, $3-$7 for guests; call 488-0880 or visit wmmi.org for more information.

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