Life as a Miner Exhibition
Find out about life as a miner – our new exhibition opens on Friday 25 March 2016.
Step inside a miner’s kitchen, explore a mine agent’s drawing room and even visit a country show – all in our newly revamped display area.
Created to give visitors an insight into the lives of Victorian lead miners, our fantastic new exhibition marks the completion of the first stage of the museum’s Rediscover Killhope project.
The project, which is being funded through a £428,000 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will see further major changes over the coming months.
Anyone who has visited Killhope before will be amazed at the transformation of our display space, where everything is now presented with teasing facts, intriguing sounds and scrolling Victorian photographs. There’s lots to entertain and inform.
Killhope was one of the most productive lead mines in England in the late 1800s so the exhibition opens with a video exploring minerals and their industrial uses. The Led Here By Lead section also explains why it was the specific geology of the area that encouraged people to settle at the top end of Weardale.
Visitors then make their way into a miner’s kitchen, where items reflecting the everyday life of Victorian miners, who usually combined their work underground with farming, are on display.
The mine manager’s drawing room features mineral collections, surveying equipment and scientific treatises, while our country show area offers an insight into the arts and crafts that occupied the miners during their spare time.
Killhope’s famous spar box collection is represented, by the Eggleston spar box. This two metre tall, fantastical display of minerals is assembled into a miniature cavern, takes pride of place in the exhibition.
The Rediscover Killhope project will also see the renovation of the museum’s Buddle House to provide an all-weather exhibition and activity space and the installation of new hands-on play equipment to help younger visitors understand more about Killhope’s heritage.