Nick Dodd, the Museum Director said “The new gallery is bright and spacious packed with interesting stories about the people who worked in the industry, in and out of the colliery. Coal Queens for example were a big part of the social scene and it was a really prestigious beauty pageant and the 1977 winner, Marie Redford, won her weight in Babycham! Then there are the mining machines which are a vital piece of mining equipment, which you can see at the end of the underground tour, this gallery tells you about their link to Star Wars VIII. Then we have ‘Madonna’, who was used by miners to boost moral during the mine closures.
The gallery documents how coal has shaped the last 300 million years on earth. In recent times, you can learn how an industry that was massive a hundred years ago, employing more than a million people, which is roughly the size of the NHS, to none in 2016. As recently as 2012, 40% of the electricity in the UK was coal fired, showing how coal is still completely relevant to our lives and we demonstrate this with an interactive display that shows some of the household objects that still contain coal by-products.
The National Coal Mining Museum is a free museum and entry to the exhibition is free, however individual donations are encouraged and used to improve the experience. Further improvements to the site including a new shop and welcome area will be opened later on in the year.”