Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
Welcome to Casa Grande and the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum located within Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
To ensure the safety of our public and our employees, Casa Grande is temporarily closed for repairs. For questions about the closure, email [email protected]. For more contacts, see staff listings below.
The stately 1854 Casa Grande manor sets the stage for visitors to discover the significance of local mercury mining to the California gold rush, the evolution of processing cinnabar into mercury, and the lifestyles of mining communities at New Almaden.
Exhibits invite visitors to walk back in time by viewing late 19th century photographs of the underground mine workings and mercury processing, as well as a diorama that duplicates the interior of a mine shaft. Artifacts from Cornish, Mexican, and Chinese mining families depict the diversity of people that once lived and worked together on "the hill." Casa Grande's antique-furnished parlor, library, and drawing room reflect the lifestyle of a mine manager's family.
After visiting the Museum, our Gift Shop is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs that focus on history, geology and interpretive souvenirs. This gift store offers items related to the Almaden area and the mining experience.
Casa Grande and the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum are located at 21350 Almaden Road in San Jose. Casa Grande is the impressive white building with picket fencing just past the Post Office. The Club Almaden sign is still up on the large redwood tree at the entrance.
From Highway 85 take the Almaden Expressway exit south 6.5 miles to Almaden Road. Turn right on Almaden Road and proceed 2.5 miles west to the town of New Almaden. The Casa Grande will be on your left.
From Highway 880 take 101 south to 280 north (toward San Francisco). Exit 280 at Hwy. 87 (Guadalupe Parkway) south. Exit Hwy. 87 at Almaden Expressway south (to the right). Proceed about 8 miles to Almaden Road. Turn right on Almaden Road and proceed 2.5 miles to the town of New Almaden.
Mining operations in New Almaden first began in 1845 under the claim of Mexican Cavalry Officer Captain Andres Castillero. Castillero discovered that the red rock used by the local Ohlone people to paint the walls of the Santa Clara Mission was cinnabar, an ore containing mercury. The valuable mercury was needed to process silver in Mexican silver mines.
Henry Halleck, who led the management of the mines under the direction of early mine owners Baron and Forbes, had the Casa Grande ("the big house") designed and built by architect Francis Meyers in 1854. The six-acre grounds were later landscaped by John McLaren, designer of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. For decades, this classic revival-style mansion served as the official residence and office for a succession of mine superintendents, and as a country weekend retreat for wealthy mine investors.
The Casa Grande once boasted 27 rooms. The basement consisted of the kitchen, dumbwaiter, servant quarters, food storage, and a large vault for depositing liquid mercury, also called "quicksilver." After the closing of mine operations, the Casa Grande had a succession of private owners and served a number of purposes, including a tourist resort and recreational facility known as Club Almaden.
In 1973, the Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation Department began purchasing the old mine properties. In 1985, the Department purchased a private collection of mining artifacts from Constance Perham, a resident of New Almaden. From 1949 to 1983, Mrs. Perham had displayed mining artifacts, memorabilia, and photographs in her private "museum" in the historic village. The Parks Department leased the museum site from 1983 to 1998, and the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association volunteers maintained the collection and exhibits, as well as provided tours about the history of New Almaden and the Quicksilver Mines.
In 1997, the Casa Grande once again was offered for sale, and the County Parks Department seized the opportunity to add the National Historic Site to Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The existing museum collection moved to the Casa Grande, where park staff and volunteers erected a new exhibit space. The new museum opened on July 3, 1998. After an extensive building renovation from 2009 to 2010, the newly expanded museum once again opened in January 2011.
For additional information about Almaden Quicksilver Park, go to the Almaden Quicksilver County Park webpage.
Online Historical Collections
Be sure to check our online historical collections to see photos, documents, and artifacts from the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum. You can also view artifacts from Martial Cottle County Park or Joseph D. Grant County Park and can request images from us.
Mercury Minutes Video Series
Mercury Minutes is a seven part video series that explores New Almaden's mining history. Episodes explain how mercury is used to process gold, the communities who mined cinnabar and processed mercury, how Santa Clara County Parks cleaned up the toxic legacy mercury left behind, and how Almaden Quicksilver County Park welcomes visitors to learn about the past while exploring park trails.
Field Trips and Tours
For in-person or virtual school field trips at the Quicksilver Mining Museum, please schedule through our education page.
Learn more in our our Teaching and Activity Guide for the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum.
Book A Field Trip
For general museum tours with groups of 15 or more, please book in advance through our Custom Tour request form on our education page.
Book A Custom Museum Tour
For additional information, you may email park interpretive staff at [email protected] or call the museum main line at (408) 918-7770.
Educational kits, also called “Traveling Trunks,” are available for rent for $20/week for up to 2 weeks.
Coming Soon: Almaden Quicksilver Traveling Trunk
Learn More About Traveling Trunks
Virtual Play Like a Miner
Calling all kids! Did you know you can win prizes while learning about New Almaden’s mining history?
Step 1: Download the Play Like a Miner Activity Booklet and complete all 9 activities in the booklet.
Download Activity Booklet Here
Step 2: Watch Play Like a Miner videos to learn secret code words. Remember to write down at least 2 code words in your activity booklet. Watching the videos makes completing the booklet easier.
- Watch Life as a Miner video to see how miners worked and build a blanket tunnel at home! (Watch Spanish-language Video with Spanish or English Subtitles OR Watch English-language Video with English subtitles)
- Watch Eat Like a Miner video to learn how to make a Cornish pasty. (English-language video with Spanish or English Subtitles)
- Coming soon: Watch Celebrate Like a Miner to learn about Spanishtown traditions like making confetti-filled eggs. (Spanish Video with Spanish or English Subtitles)
- Watch The GREAT Chocolate Chip Cookie Mining Competition with Park Interpreters Rachel and Victoria who compete to mine the most chocolate chips and learn how mercury mining was important to the gold rush. (English-language Video with English Subtitles)
Step 3: Fill out this submission form to win a prize! There’s no deadline to submit your answers and claim your prize!
For additional information about programs or teaching resources at the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, you may email park interpretive staff at [email protected] or call the museum main line at (408) 918-7770.
Juega Como un Minero Virtualmente
¡Llamando a todos los niños! ¿Sabías que puedes ganar premios mientras aprendes sobre la historia minera de Nueva Almadén?
Paso 1: Descargue el folleto de actividades de Juega como un minero y complete las 9 actividades del folleto.
Descargue el folleto de actividades
Paso 2: Mira videos de la serie de Juega como un minero para aprender palabras secretas en código. Recuerde anotar al menos 2 palabras clave en su folleto de actividades. Ver los videos hace que completar el folleto sea más fácil.
- ¡Mira el video de La vida de un minero para ver cómo trabajaban los mineros y como puedes construir un túnel de manta en casa! (Vea el video en español con subtítulos en español o inglés O vea el video en inglés con subtítulos en inglés)
- Mira el video de Eat Like a Miner (Come como un minero) para aprender a hacer una empanada de Cornualles. (Video en inglés con subtítulos en español o inglés)
- Próximamente: Mira Celebra como un minero para aprender sobre las tradiciones de Spanishtown y como hacer huevos rellenos de confeti. (Video en español con subtítulos en español o inglés)
- Vea la GRAN competencia de minería de galletas con chispas de chocolate con las intérpretes del parque, Rachel y Victoria. Ellas compiten para extraer la mayor cantidad de chispas de chocolate. Ademas, aprende cómo la minería de mercurio fue importante para la fiebre del oro. (Video en inglés con subtítulos en inglés)
Paso 3: ¡Rellena este formulario de envío para ganar un premio! ¡No hay fecha límite para enviar sus respuestas y reclamar su premio!
Para obtener información adicional sobre programas o recursos de enseñanza en el Quicksiver Mining Museum (museo) de Nueva Almadén, puede enviar un correo electrónico al personal interpretativo del parque en [email protected] o llamar a la línea principal del museo al (408) 918-7770.
Play Like A Miner
Every summer, visitors imagine a day in the life of a mercury miner and other 19th century residents of New Almaden at this fun family event featuring games, crafts, live music, and demonstrations, and mining-era activities for all ages.
In 2023, the event will take place on Saturday, July 29th from 11am-3pm. More details coming soon!
Join an Almaden Quicksilver Park Interpreter for a 3-4 mile hike in the Almaden Hills to discover how our changing values have impacted the landscape, and a once bustling mining enterprise became a County Park.
Offered monthly on the last Saturday or Sunday. Check the Parks Calendar for dates and registration information.
Explore Casa Grande's Victorian Era with costumed docents, seasonal crafts, and activities for all ages.
Check the Parks Calendar for upcoming programs.
Volunteer at the Museum
Volunteers at the Mining Museum play an important role in helping to tell New Almaden's story.
Visitor Center Hosts provide visitor assistance in the museum, answer questions, provide park information, interpret the natural and cultural history of the park, and help with the care and upkeep of the facility. Great for those who like interacting with people, sharing their knowledge, learning, and being indoors! *Currently Recruiting
Interpretive Docents help Park Staff provide quality learning experiences for visitors at parks, visitor centers, historic sites and interpretive facilities. Interpretive Docent Volunteers help facilitate audience-centered experiences with an emphasis on skills needed to lead school field trip activities.
Archive Volunteers maintain archival and artifact collections and databases.
The Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum is open year-round except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. There is a $2 per person suggested donation for admission to the museum.
Dogs are not permitted on museum grounds or in the museum, with the exception of service animals.
|Tuesdays - Thursdays||
In compliance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (‘ADA”), the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its programs, services, or activities. The Department will make reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disability have an equal opportunity to enjoy our programs, services, facilities, and activities. If you need assistance with an ADA request, please contact our ADA Coordinator
Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
21520 Almaden Rd
San Jose, CA 95120
Main Museum:(408) 918-7770
Parks Program Coordinator-Interpretation: Lynda Will
Public and school program, museum tours, volunteers, donations, and collections.
Parks Program Coordinator: Audrey Diaz
Gift shop, rentals, and facility.
Acting Senior Ranger: Colby Meenk
Senior Park Maintenance Worker: Lincoln Schallenberger