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Arizona Gold Mining Experience Finale

May 11 @ 9:00 am - 11:15 am MST

Admission to the final Arizona Gold Mining Experience of the season is $15 for adults and children under 12 are free. The full mining demonstration will take place on Saturday, May 11 from 9 -11:15 AM. Reservations are required. Reserve tickets online at as there is a limit.


For Erik Anderson, learning to become a mill man and run Arizona’s only fully operational mining stamp mill at as part of the Arizona Gold Mining Experience (AZGME) at Cave Creek Museum has been a thrill beyond belief.

“My wife and I visited the museum in 2020 to learn about this incredible, historic venue in our backyard,” says Anderson. “We were quickly hooked on the history, exhibits and the massive education about our area. I decided I was interested in getting to know the stamp mill and work throughout AZGME, and my wife became a docent (volunteer) so she could be surrounded by local history and be able to share it with visitors and members alike.”

Anderson, an AZGME volunteer and retired broadcast engineer, had a television production company for 20 years before teaching the same to college students for 10 years. He met with the museum’s gold mining experience Dream Team and became a mill man. It took him about a year to learn the AZGME well enough to manage his role during public events twice a month and for specialty tour groups. He continues to learn everyday.

Anderson loves the camaraderie, learning the history and the technology behind the stamp mill and the thrill it gives the crowds.

Larry Bullard, a Arizona Gold Mining Experience volunteer and the Director of engineering for Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., says lending his skills to the operation of the museum’s AZGME, is gratifying in numerous ways.

“The camaraderie alone is worth the volunteer experience,” says Bullard. “I learn so much about local history and about mining equipment from team members, then I get to actually work the AZGME and other exhibits and projects around the property. Most of my training takes place an hour before the AZGME gets underway twice a month. It is great to learn the systems while giving the crowds a thrill.”

Bullard says the museum has a couple of amazing storytellers.

“Our storytellers have studied Cave Creek for a long time,” adds Bullard. “They have been to the original site of the stamp mill and tramway and share how the original Dream Team members brought the stamp mill – then in shambles – from Continental Mountain to the museum. The museum director wanted to know what the big mess of materials was and why it was at the museum. She was told: ‘We have a dream.’ With their insight and fortitude, they brought the stamp mill back to life after working on it for five years. That’s really something.”

Adds Anderson, “When you volunteer, you make a personal commitment to serve a certain amount of time that works best for you. I like that. Our team volunteers need to know about how things work so we can help each other with maintenance, know who is working on what aspect of the experience and so forth. I am humbled to learn how difficult it was for people working in the mining industry. But, I have to say, I love getting dirty and working with this amazing stamp mill equipment and other elements of the museum.”

Both volunteers have been training and work closely with the Cave Creek Museum Dream Team to learn the ins and outs of Arizona’s only fully operational ten-stamp ore crushing mill still working in its original mining district and crushing ore from its original mine, the Golden Reef Gold Mine. They also know how to work the mill’s tramway with ore carts that carry the ore to be pulverized to the stamp mill; the AZGME mine shaft; and the gold panning station, among other exhibits and activities.

“Why volunteer? Because it’s rewarding,” says Bulllard. “I’ve learned a lot of things I never would have otherwise. I enjoy working closely with smart folks and being outdoors. We work together on whatever project needs to be completed, from walking visitors around the property and interacting with the crowds to learning the equipment. The crowds are incredible and both kids and adults love learning about the area’s mining history. It’s fun.”

“Volunteering allows you to meet all kinds of people with different interests, abilities and you gain credentials for the volunteer work you perform,” says Anderson. ”It’s fun and you know you’re doing important work that connects you with history, where we came from and how things were done by people leading the way back in the day.”

Cave Creek Museum’s popular Arizona Gold Mining Experience takes place twice a month during the museum’s season, which is October through May. Individuals interested in serving as a museum volunteer and/or learning to help operate elements of the mining experience can call 480.488.2764.

The 53-year-old museum’s mission is to preserve the artifacts of the prehistory, history, culture and legacy of the Cave Creek Mining District and the Cave Creek/Carefree foothills area through education, research and interpretive exhibits. The Cave Creek Museum is located at 6140 E. Skyline Drive in Cave Creek, Ariz. Open October through May. The museum can be reached at 480.488.2764 or Where History Comes Alive


Cave Creek Museum
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Cave Creek Museum
6140 E. Skyline Drive
Cave Creek, AZ United States
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