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“Ride into a coal mine with a coal miner! A must-do in West Virginia!”

Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum
Ranked #2 of 15 things to do in Beckley
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: As the focal points of Beckley’s lovely New River Park, the Exhibition Coal Mine, the Rahall Company Store, Mine Museum and the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia draw thousands of people to the area annually. The unique underground mine, the recreated coal camp, the Youth Museum and the Mountain Homestead are surrounded by inviting lawns, colorful flowers, picnic areas, an imposing coal miner statue and a whimsical 20 ft. “Peace Totem. At the Exhibition Coal Mine, one can ride through the dark passages of a vintage coal mine. The guides are veteran miners and provide firsthand accounts of the daily responsibilities and tasks of past and present day miners. In addition to the Mine, one can tour the Mine Museum and the period coal camp situated throughout the grounds. Lovingly restored, the Coal Company House, Superintendent’s Home, Pemberton Coal Camp Church, and the Helen Coal Camp School, give visitors a true representation of early 20th century coal camp life. Adjacent to the Exhibition Mine, the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia is open to the public year round. The central exhibit area features an average of three different interactive exhibits yearly. Group tours include a visit to the Museum’s Planetarium. Behind the Museum’s main building, stands the Mountain Homestead. Developed to enrich history studies, guides tell the stirring story West Virginian’s hearty pioneer settlers as they interpret the restored log cabin, one room schoolhouse, barn, weaver’s shed, general store, moonshine still and blacksmith shop.
Reviewed 2 April 2018

Coal is very much still king in West Virginia, and this great attraction explains the history of it and makes you a part of it. It's truly a must-do when you're in WV- and we live here and love it! You ride a coal-car into the mine, and the docents who explain everything are retired miners, so they don't just know the past, they know the present! The beautifully restored buildings explain what life was like for the miners, and it's definitely worth seeing all of them. (Read Homer Hickam's "Rocket Boys", "The Coalwood Way" & "Sky of Stone", or see the movie "October Sky" for more on this subject!) (Also: There is also another great exhibition coal mine- the first one- nearby, in Pocahontas, Virginia (near Bramwell, WV)- you walk into that one!) We have an Inn in southern WV (the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre), in the heart of "coal country", and we always encourage our guests to go to the Exhibition Coal Mine!

1  Thank elissejo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"retired miner"
in 31 reviews
"the underground tour"
in 18 reviews
"west virginia"
in 50 reviews
"above ground"
in 10 reviews
"bring a jacket"
in 12 reviews
"mining town"
in 10 reviews
"hard life"
in 9 reviews
"gift shop"
in 29 reviews
"all ages"
in 23 reviews
"answer questions"
in 12 reviews
"turn of the century"
in 6 reviews
"mine shaft"
in 7 reviews
"educational experience"
in 8 reviews
"an eye opener"
in 7 reviews
"rail car"
in 7 reviews
"company town"
in 7 reviews
"back in the day"
in 7 reviews
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20 - 24 of 563 reviews

Reviewed 15 March 2018

Coal may have been king, but what a harsh ruler! This collection of old buildings and artifacts shows what a hard life the West Virginia coal miners had. Building docents explained the significance of the structure but more importantly helped me see the day to day life of a miner, the boss, the school kids. And the ride into the mine, guided by retired miners, shows how much better the miners' lives have gotten. Kids should love the ride, it is not Disney. (But the mine shown is not how it looked in early 20th century.

1  Thank evilledrwho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2018

Very interesting to go into a real coal mine (from days gone by) and get a better understanding of what goes on underground.

Thank fancietail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2018

It really gave a glimpse into the lives of miners past and present. The museum was interesting. The children's museum was small but sufficient. The old structures were nicely appointed with period pieces. Nice gift shop. Unusual and worth the visit

1  Thank MirolgaTumen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 December 2017

My sister and I and my daughter (10 y/o) and niece (11 y/o) thoroughly enjoyed this experience! Learning history with hands-on experiences. Taking the tour made me aware of things I had never considered, and gave me a real appreciation for the coal miners.

1  Thank Cornliona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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