Visnes is a hamlet in the community of Avaldsnes on the island of Karmøy on the west coast of Norway, north of Stavanger. A fisherman discovered a rich vein of copper ore in the vicinity in 1865, and a company was quickly established to work mines which were equipped with the most modern technology. The mine was lit by electricity from 1870, drilling by compressed air was introduced in 1875, and in 1880 Visnes was connected with the outside world by telephone. A copper smelter was established on the sea shore in 1872, but worked only until 1887. By that time the mine was less productive and it closed in 1894. Four years later a new company established workings some 800 m. distant which continued to produce ore until 1972. Analysis in 1985 showed that the 80-tonne Statute of Liberty in New York harbour was cast in 1876-85 with copper from the Visnes mines.
The mining museum is located in the restored home of the first director of the mines, Charles Defrance, born in Metz in 1839. Displays tell the story of the mining community in Visnes, and visitors are able to examine the remains of the copper smelter on the sea shore, and to explore the gardens around the mansion which include a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty.