Copper ores were discovered in the Outokumpu district of eastern Finland in 1910 by the German geologist Otto Trustedt. Mining began in 1913 when a smelter came into operation. The smelter ceased working in 1929 but the scale of mining greatly increased in that period, with concentrate being exported along a 12 km railway to a lakeside harbour completed in 1918, and from 1928 by way of the national railway system. For several decades this was one of the principal sources of copper ores in Europe. New shafts were sunk in 1938, and in 1954 the new Keretti shaft was topped by a 96 m winding tower, the highest in Europe. Production declined in the late twentieth century and the last mine in the region ceased working in 1989.
The museum opened in 1982, and includes winding room and crushing plant. Displays illustrate the development of geological prospecting and mining in Finland, and the life and work patterns of mining communities.