A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum

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Thomas D Shaffner Hall, home to the museum as of 2011

The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, currently located on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, is the official mineral museum of the state of Michigan and is a heritage site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.[1] The museum is named for professor Arthur Edmund Seaman, who worked at Michigan Tech in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was the museum's curator from 1928–1937.[2]

The mineral collection was established in the 19th century, and by 1890 numbered 27,000 specimens.[2] The museum currently houses over 25,000 specimens from around the world.[1] Most of these specimens are native generally to Michigan, and more specifically to the Lake Superior region.


Portrait of Douglass Houghton in the museum
Silver-copper mineral specimen from Wolverine Mine, Houghton County, Michigan, formerly in the Seaman Museum collections. Size: 5.6 x 2.8 x 3.2 cm.
Large display of sheet copper from the White Pine mine at the museum entrance

The mineral museum first became a reality in 1902, when it was set up in the former Qualitative Laboratory room in Hubbell Hall[2] on Michigan Tech's campus. In 1908, a separate building (which would later become Tech's Administration Building) was constructed for the museum.[2] The museum fully occupied the second floor of the building. In 1931, the museum was moved to Hotchkiss Hall.[2][3] The museum was renamed the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum in 1932.[4]

On 17 June 1976 the museum moved to the fifth floor of the Electrical Energy Resource Center at Michigan Tech,[5] built on the site of Hotchkiss Hall. In 2011, the museum moved to a new building,[6] Thomas D Shaffner Hall, across from the Advanced Technology Development Complex. It is named for Thomas Shaffner, a Michigan Tech alumnus who donated $1 million for the new museum.[7]

The museum was designated the "official Mineralogical Museum of Michigan" in 1990 by the Michigan Legislature.[8]

There are plans to relocate the museum to the Quincy Mine, another part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. The new museum will be located in the renovated Quincy Mine blacksmith and machine shop buildings that are preexisting on the site. The new museum location is larger than its current location and will offer more space to display mineral specimens. There is also room for a sufficient number of parking spaces for visitors to be put on the site. The museum will be located inside the Keweenaw National Historic Park and it will be more visible and accessible to visitors.[9]


  • Arthur Edmund Seaman (1928–1937)
  • Kiril Spiroff (1938–1943)
  • Wyllis Seaman (1943–1948)
  • Kiril Spiroff (1964–1975)
  • Jean Peterman Kemp (1975–1986)
  • Stanley J Dyl II (1986–1996)
  • George Willard Robinson (1996–present)
  • Christopher J. Stefano (2013-present)



  1. ^ a b "New Seaman Mineral Museum Dedicated". AE Seaman Mineral Museum. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "History". A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Vast Mineral Collection at Tech," Daily Mining Gazette, 4 February 1987. Print. Seaman Museum Vertical File, Michigan Tech Archives.
  4. ^ "Seaman Mineral Museum". Michigan Technological University. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "From Farm Boy to World Energy Leader Walker Cisler to Give Dedication Address at MTU," Michigan Tech Today, 15 June 1976. Print. EERC Vertical File, Michigan Tech Archives.
  6. ^ "A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum Complex". AE Seaman Museum. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Creager, Ellen (8 January 2012). "You haven't lived here until ... you've visited the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum". Pure Michigan. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Bornhorst, T (2010) Director of A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, Personal Interview.

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Coordinates: 47°06′39″N 88°33′09″W / 47.1108°N 88.5526°W / 47.1108; -88.5526