PRESS RELEASE: National Coal Mining Museum gets funding to tell the story of Sir Humphry Davy in a brand new exhibition.

PRESS RELEASE: National Coal Mining Museum gets funding to tell the story of Sir Humphry Davy in a brand new exhibition.

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 talk about the contributions made by Sir Humphry Davy to the flame-safety lamp which is recognised for saving countless lives in mining.

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 side by side with other engineers, inventors and innovators who worked in their workshops, laboratories and garden sheds to contribute to the development of 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.

Stephanie Thompson, Curatorial and Collections Manager said “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.



Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Anita O’Donovan or Lauren Wood at the National Coal Mining Museum for England on 01924 844566 or email and


Note to editors


About National Coal Mining Museum for England

  • The National Coal Mining Museum for England provides a unique opportunity to travel 140 metres underground to explore England's last deep coalmine led by a miner guide.
  • Arrive early or book a day in advance to book onto an underground tour
  • Temperature underground is 12C; we recommend warm practical clothing and        sensible flat shoes. Children over 5 can take the underground tour if with an adult
  • Adventure playground & indoor play area for children under five
  • Disabled facilities include level parking, ramp and disabled toilets with accessible       underground tours which can be arranged by prior arrangement
  • The Museum is free but we would love your donations 
  • Free car and coach parking
  • Opening hours: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily except for 24-26 December and 1 January
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times

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About Biffa Award

Since 1997, Biffa Award has awarded grants totalling more than £175million to thousands of worthwhile community and environmental projects across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The programme administers money donated by Biffa Group Ltd through the Landfill Communities Fund.


About Landfill Communities Fund

The Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) is an innovative tax credit scheme enabling operators (LOs) to contribute money to organisations enrolled with ENTRUST as Environmental Bodies (EBs). EBs use this funding for a wide range of community and environmental projects in the vicinity of landfill sites. LOs are able to claim a credit (currently 4.2%) against their landfill tax liability for 90% of the contributions they make.

Since its inception in 1996, over £1.4 billion has been spent on more than 51,000 projects across the UK. For further information please visit or see HMRC’s general guide to landfill tax.


About Association of Independent Museums (AIM)

The Association of Independent Museums (AIM) is a national charitable organisation which helps independent and independently spirited museums, galleries and heritage sites prosper by connecting, supporting and representing them.

AIM’s membership ranges from voluntarily run community organisations to some of the largest museums in the country and includes museums, historic houses, heritage organisations, ships and historic railways as well as museum consultants and commercial suppliers.

AIM provides an independent viewpoint based on operational and business experience of running successful enterprises for public benefit. New members are always welcome to join






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