Big Brutus is one of those places we enjoy visiting occasionally as it offers a unique perspective of the mining history in the Midwest, and every time we visit, we come away feeling in awe and intrigued by the mining industry of the past.

Big Brutus in West Mineral Kansas

What is Big Brutus?

Big Brutus was the largest electric shovel in the world and offers insight into the mining history in the Midwest. A colossal sized shovel, it stands 16 stories high and weighs 11 million pounds. Built by Bucyrus Erie company for the Pittsburg & Midway Coal Mining Company, Big Brutus operated for over a decade before retiring in 1974.

Rich standing next to the Big Brutus shovel

A New Beginning

After Big Brutus retired, a group of individuals who were interested in saving Big Brutus from being demolished worked to give Big Brutus a new life, and in 1985, Big Brutus was dedicated as a museum, and stands as a tribute to the legacy of mining in the Midwest. Big Brutus was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.

Big Brutus Museum and Visitor Center

Today Big Brutus is the focus of the Big Brutus Museum, and visitors can take a walking tour of the grounds and walk through Big Brutus. There are many outdoor and indoor exhibits, providing valuable information about the mining era and its history.  

An exhibit inside Big Brutus Museum

The Mined Land Wildlife Area

Big Brutus Museum is surrounded by the Mined Land Wildlife Area, which is approximately 15,000 acres of grasslands, wood lots, and waterway with strip pits. This area offers an opportunity for those who are nature lovers or enjoy hunting or fishing to be outdoors and enjoy these areas.  

Good to Know

The Museum and Visitor Center are open year-round from 9 am to 4 pm, except for a couple of holidays. There is also a small gift shop offering souvenirs and T-shirts. An RV Park and tent camping are available for those who would like to stay over in the area. For more information, you can check their website here.

Big Brutus Museum has a Gift Shop with souvenirs.

A visit to Big Brutus is an interesting experience, offering insight and a historical perspective to the mining industry in the Kansas area. For those of us who enjoy exploring and visiting new places, Big Brutus is a great place to add to your bucket list.

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