Aspen History & Museums: Holden Museum, Aspen Colorado

Aspen Colorado
> History Museums
> Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

Before the ski slopes, people flocked to the mountains surrounding Aspen to mine its silver; before it was filled with trendy shops, luxury hotels and expensive homes, the Roaring Fork Valley was peppered by ranches. Both mines and ranches have all but disappeared, but visitors can get a glimpse of those eras at the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum. Read More

  • More than 20 mining and ranching exhibits and displays
  • Located on the site of the Holden Lixiviation Mill
  • $10/adult, $8/senior, free for kids
  • Open mid June to early October


Explore Aspen's mining and ranching heritage through more than 20 exhibits and displays at the Holden Museum, where the location itself is part a part of the history. The museum is on the site of the 1891 Holden Lixiviation Mill. When it opened, the mill was a cutting-edge facility that refined low-grade ore. But it went bankrupt after only 14 months in operation.  

The mill was one of only 18 plants in the world to utilize the experimental Russell Lixiviation refining process, according to the Aspen Historical Society. The process "used crushing, heat and chemical salts to refine silver form ore as low grade as 10 ounces per ton," according to the historical society. Though it had state-of-the-art technology, it also had bad timing. Shortly after the mill opened, Congress demonetized silver and the operation went bankrupt having never made a profit. 

In 1940, the Marolt ranching family purchased the site for $1 and raised sheep and cattle there, thus combining on one site two of the industries that most contributed to Aspen's rich heritage.


40180 Highway 82, just over the pedestrian bridge off Music School Lane in Aspen. The Holden/Marolt museum is on the bike path to the west of the pedestrian bridge across Castle Creek. Parking at the Marolt Ranch is off Castle Creek Road.


Adults: $10, Seniors: $8, Children (12 and under): Free. Admission fee also includes the Wheeler/Stallard Museum. 


Open 10:30am to 4:30pm Tuesday through Saturday from June 17 through August 30, and then 1-5pm through October 4. Winter visits are by appointment only.

Other info

Phone: 970-925-3721