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About Us


They have come from all over, according to AAA s national travel magazine Journals. Visitors from as far away as Australia, Scandinavia, and Hong Kong, have come to Eastern Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Coal Museum, the nation s best coal museum. When they leave, they are invariably singing the praises of this one-of-a-kind experience that tells the story of coal mining in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Coal Museum represent one of Kentucky's most valuable assets in educating the public about coal mining. Located in the picturesque mining community of Benham and near the U.S. Steel coal camp of Lynch, both of which are unique reservoirs of coal mining history, the museum is fast becoming one of the state s must-see destinations. In addition to national magazines like Journals and Southern Living, newspapers from around the country Ohio to California have run feature stories on the museum and its exhibits. When visitors leave, they often say they intend to come back and to tell others about this jewel in the mountains.

The Museum offers the public the opportunity to learn about coal mining through its presentation of perhaps the most comprehensive collection of mining memorabilia in the nation. The product of study and painstaking research, the Museum's collection uniquely portrays life in a coal camp. The Museum's founders were very much aware that a large majority of mining communities around Appalachia and, indeed, around the state and nation no longer exist. Many individuals who grew up in these coal camp communities now have sons, daughters, and grandchildren who have grown up hearing the stories about what life was like in the coal camps. However, for many of those people who want to share that coal camp experience with their own children and grandchildren they cannot go home again, because so many of the state's mining communities have been abandoned and torn down. It was with this thought in mind that the Museum's collection was assembled and is housed in the wonderfully-restored Benham company store.

The goal in the development of the Museum, was to tell the story. It is the story of coal in Kentucky, and the story of the thousands of workers, most of who came from the Deep South and Eastern Europe to escape poverty, and build a better life for their families. Their stories are told at the Kentucky Coal Museum, perhaps as well as they are told anywhere in the world.