interactive exhibit offers a glimpse of how coal was mined in the
earliest days of the industry, helping students and other visitors
understand the miner's life under ground. The exhibit is targeted
at eighth-grade students, although anyone interested in West
Virginia's early coal industry will enjoy the display. The Division
of Culture and History encourages schools to make the exhibit
accessible to the public during nonschool hours.
The lightweight but durable exhibit features an audiovisual component and hands-on simulated coal equipment. The audiovisual component consists of recollections by early coal miners and photo vignettes that illustrate the many faces of the southern coalfields. The hands-on coal equipment provides a feel for what it was like to mine coal in the hand-loading era. An interchangeable component focuses on the host county, presenting a brief overview of that community's coal history.
The Division of Culture and History has developed an eighth-grade teachers' guide to accompany the exhibit. The teachers' guide includes the exhibit text, background material, classroom activities, discussions topics, a short documentary video from the exhibit, and the book Historic West Virginia.