The National Coal Mining Museum has been awarded a £81,987 grant from AIM Biffa Award to create a brand new ‘Illumination Gallery’ which will open in Summer 2020.

The new gallery will draw on the fund’s theme ‘History Makers – People Who Shaped Our World’ and talk about the contributions made by Sir Humphry Davy to the flame-safety lamp which is recognised for saving countless lives in mining.

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Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) was a chemist and inventor and his discoveries were widely celebrated in academic and scientific circles, as well as by the general public who would gather in amazement to watch his experiments and lectures. His story will be told side by side with other engineers, inventors and innovators who worked in their workshops, laboratories and garden sheds to contribute to the development of the flame-safety lamp; the invention of which is widely credited to both Sir Humphry Davy and George Stephenson. The flame-safety lamp was revolutionary in underground lighting as it not only provided illumination but also helped miners detect explosive gasses in the environment before they became problematic.

Stephanie Thompson, Curatorial and Collections Manager said “The new galleries will ultimately contribute to the Museum’s ambition to become a centre for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) learning and complements the exciting work taking place across the site which is enhancing the visitor experience and increasing visitor engagement. The new interpretation will bring new life and understanding to the museum’s extensive historic lamp collection and hopefully inspire a new generation with the possibilities of studying and working in STEM”.