USA Today names Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine one of the nation’s top ten history museums


BECKLEY, West Virginia (WVVA) — A Beckley Museum is recognized by USA Today as one of the top ten history museums in the country.

The Coal Mine exhibit was ranked 8th this year by readers of the newspaper.

Dorsel Turner has operated the cart at the mine for several years. A former miner, he is proud to be able to offer foreigners a look.

“My favorite part is talking to people. I couldn’t describe it. It’s just very pleasant.

Visiting a mine just about anywhere else is next to impossible without extensive training. But the coal mine exhibition provides people with this opportunity. It was once a real mine operated by the New River Company and donated to the town of Beckley in 1962.

“People come here, they don’t know the energy policies and where they come from. They just know that coal and gas have a bad reputation because they are fossil fuels. But they don’t know the depth and breadth of what they do,” explained Leslie Gray Baker, Beckley’s Dir. parks and recreation.

Baker said the mine gives people a glimpse of the work needed to build the United States, from coal’s role in developing steel to the nation’s tallest skyscrapers.

“Once they leave here, they come away with knowledge that they didn’t have before and they are sometimes very amazed.”

While some people leave with a better understanding, she said others leave with a renewed sense of pride.

“Even our locals, when told again, they leave with a sense of pride because everyone here knows someone who has had something to do with the coal industry.”

The Coal Mine Exhibition is open every day, including Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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