Kentucky Coal Museum
|Location||231 Main Street, Benham, Kentucky 40807|
|Website||Kentucky Coal Museum & Portal 31|
The Kentucky Coal Museum is heritage center located in Benham, Kentucky. Its focus is the history of the coal industry in Eastern Kentucky, featuring specific exhibits on the company towns of Benham and neighboring Lynch. It is housed in a former company store that was built by International Harvester in 1923. In June 1990, the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce purchased the building for the future site of the museum. After receiving additional grants from the state of Kentucky, the museum opened in May 1994.
The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum features exhibits on a miner's home, a company hospital, commissary, and school; engineering, coal sampling, a mock mine tour and the Loretta Lynn "Coal Miner's Daughter" exhibit.
In 2009, the museum began to coordinate tours of the nearby Portal 31 Mine, which opened in 1917 in Lynch, Kentucky. The thirty-minute tour of the mine involves eight stops that chronologically depict a different era in coal mining, ranging from the 1910s to the present day.
To reduce energy costs to run the museum, the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum installed 80 solar panels on its roof in April 2017. It is hoped the installation will save the museum $8,000–10,000 a year in energy costs.
- Alford, Roger (October 21, 2009). "Kentucky Hopes For Big Haul From Coal Mine Tourism". USA Today. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
- History of the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum benhamky.org. Retrieved on November 10, 2010
- Kentucky Coal Museum Kentucky Tourism. Retrieved on November 10, 2010
- Watkins, Morgan (April 8, 2017). "Kentucky Coal Museum shifts to solar power". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved October 15, 2017.