You don’t have to do much digging at this museum to unearth nuggets of Juneau’s gold mining past. It’s located within the old Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company site, which was once touted as one of the the largest gold mining operations in the world.
The Last Chance Mining Museum is within the old mining site’s historic compressor building, which still houses one of the world’s largest air compressors. Wander around inside, and you’ll come across other old, weathered artifacts from Juneau’s gold mining days and an incredible 3-D glass map of the tunnels.
The historic mine operated up until 1944, when a labor shortage caused by World War II forced it to shutter. The mine boasted thousands of feet of tunnels that snaked within the Earth’s underbelly. Above-ground camps dotted Last Chance Creek and nearby Silverbow Basin, and milling operations took hold near downtown Juneau (ruins of the camps and milling operations can still be seen today). The historic park surrounding the museum is sprinkled with the ruins of other mine buildings, the rusting remains of electric trains used to ferry ore and miners in and out of the mine, and numerous other artifacts.
Nearby, you’ll find the trailhead for the Perseverance Trail, which will take you up to Silverbow Basin and has several interpretive signs along its route explaining what was once here. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Alaska Gold Rush Properties.
Know Before You Go
Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. from mid-May to late September, or by appointment. Admission is $5.