There is plenty to explore, see and do for all ages and all interest at the Kent Mining Museum
The museum boasts two floors of exhibition space – the Main Exhibition and the Temporary Exhibition Gallery – which highlight the history of the Kent coalfield throughout the 20th century.
Through the use of objects, photographs and documents from our archives, visitors can explore the many topics and themes surrounding the Kent coalfield and the impact it has had on the local area.
Through the use of multi-media, interactive and traditional displays, visitors can learn about: the history of coal mining in Kent, the day in the life of a Kent Miner, the geography of the coalfield, the importance of coal through the years, the art of the unions and strikes in Kent and the role of women during these times. Whilst appreciating the objects on display, visitors can hear personal recollections of former miners and their descendants.
The Temporary Exhibition Gallery hosts a multitude of changing displays and exhibitions that relate to the Kent Coalfield. Some of the topics explored since the museums opening include: the migrating miners and the development of the Kent mining communities, the role of the pits during wartime in the 20th century, as well as local student artwork reflecting on the local heritage. The space also sees a new Object of the Month chosen by KMM employees and volunteers, even members of the public.
The Migrating Miner exhibition discussed the reasons for mass migration to the area, as well as its effects onto the community. It looked at the initial reactions of local Kent residents, and the development of the mining communities through sports, music (band and choir), food, and traditions brought down to Kent from all over England and across the world.
Bravery, Bombs, and Bevin Boys: Pits During Wartime
The exhibition looked at the role of the Kent Pits during various periods of wartime throughout the 20th century. Miners were a massive force during WWI working as tunnellers, and soon after they showed their support for the Republicans during Spanish Civil War – some joining the International Brigades. During WWII, miners continued to work despite the bombings and impending threat of a German invasion, but they also volunteered to fight as the Home Guard. However, the Bevin Boys called down to work in the pits, rather than fight in the war, shows just how important the coal industry was during a tumultuous time.
Youth Curator Project with Astor College
In early 2023, the Kent Mining Museum had the pleasure of hosting its first Youth Curator project. We collaborated with local art students from Astor College and local art company Animate Arts to create a mining village. This was after a visit to the museum and a Meet a Miner session where they learned about the mining community in Kent. The final project included crafting a mining village from cardboard and paper, and leading around family and friends as guides of their own exhibition.
On the 1st March 2023 the students from the Canterbury School of Visual Arts (CSVA) visited the Kent Mining Museum and Betteshanger Park to begin gathering research for their Final Major Project as part of their Level 3 Diploma in Creative Practice and Communication. They explored a range of activities such as viewing the museum, exploring the archives, walking around the park, and most importantly meeting the ex-miners. This invaluable research formed the basis of their independent art projects that addressed a range of themes and concepts surrounding the Kent Mining Community. Their final art pieces were on display at the museum throughout the Summer of 2023.