Precious Metals

Indiana museum tells story of gold riches and ruin

A new exhibit on gold and the gold rushes in America opens March 7, 2015, at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis.

The exhibit, titled “Gold! Riches and Ruin,” will explore the historical and cultural significance of gold in the American West.

Objects and images will tell the stories of the 1800s historic gold rushes in California, the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Klondike area of the Yukon Territory of northwest Canada.

The stories of those individual adventurers and gold hounds will show the risks and rewards.

According to Johanna Blume, exhibit curator, visitors to the museum will get to “meet” a host of fortune seekers. Blume says stories in the exhibit illustrate the “perseverance and adventure” involved in striking it rich, but also the “ravenousness, violence, sacrifice and failure.”

The stories of these gold rushes will be told with art and historical objects, and, of course, actual gold.

Visitors will be able to see gold nuggets, coins, bars and jewelry; gold mining equipment and tools; and paintings, journals, diaries, clothing and personal effects that belonged to prospective gold miners.

An outdoor gold panning experience will allow visitors to pan for “gold” and then use that gold to “purchase” an item in the museum store.

Also on display will be recently salvaged bars of gold from the shipwreck of the SS Central America, which carried tons of California gold in its cargo bays when it was sunk in 1857.

The gold exhibit runs through Aug. 9, 2015. More information is available at the museum website.

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