Coming Soon: Illumination Gallery

The National Coal Mining Museum has been awarded a £81,987 grant from AIM Biffa Award to create a brand new ‘Illumination Gallery’ which will open in Summer 2020. The new gallery will draw on the fund’s theme ‘History Makers - People Who Shaped Our World’ and will explore the contribution made by Sir Humphry Davy to the invention of the flame-safety lamp which saved countless lives and inspired generations of scientists and engineers to keep making advancements in new and improved technologies.  

Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) was a chemist and inventor and his discoveries were widely celebrated in academic and scientific circles, as well as by the general public who would gather in amazement to watch his experiments and lectures. His story will be told alongside the stories of other history makers who developed and improved the flame-safety lamp, the invention of which is widely credited to both Sir Humphry Davy and George Stephenson. The flame-safety lamp was revolutionary in underground lighting as it not only provided illumination but also helped miners detect explosive gasses in the environment before they became problematic.

The new galleries will ultimately contribute to the Museum’s ambition to become a centre for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) learning and complements the exciting work taking place across the site which is enhancing the visitor experience and increasing visitor engagement. The new interpretation will bring new life and understanding to the museum’s extensive historic lamp collection and hopefully inspire a new generation with the possibilities of studying and working in STEM.

The History Makers scheme funds museums to create new exhibitions that will inspire the public through the lives and achievements of extraordinary, historical figures. The scheme is managed by the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) and Biffa Award, a multi million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

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