Big changes planned for Miners Hall Museum

Miners Hall Museum will be closing its doors September 23 at 4 p.m. for a major makeover. MHM is planning a major redesign of the exhibits. The vision of the exhibit committee is focused on ease and convenience for visitors. It’s very important for us to maintain the integrity of the museum exhibits as we tell the story of the immigrants who came to southeast Kansas. The museum is a special place honoring those families.

The museum is also focused on expansion in the future when funding becomes available. Outside the museum the board has created “Coal Camp.” The Education Committee’s annual event “Camp Franklin,” which is held on the grounds of Coal Camp, gives visitors a real-life glimpse of what our ancestors did when they came to America.

Facilities Planning and Land Use Committee is also working on restoration of the miner’s house, which will allow the museum to display donated artifacts in a natural setting. Outdoor gardens and open areas provide a natural habitat for wildlife which would have been typical in the coal mining era.

From an exhibit relating to the early arrival of immigrants to the stories of how they worked, shopped, attended school and church and how they socialized, MHM has it covered. Our exhibits tell the complete course of life of an immigrant in southeast Kansas. The library will now feature easy to use carousel book shelves that will house valuable information regarding coal camps and families in Southeast KS as well as coal companies and other historical facts due funding from a generous grant from Community Foundation of SE Kansas.

The museum itself is a nonprofit organization but grants from Zone 6 Garden Club, Pritchett and CFSEK have all assisted in a variety of projects throughout the museum. Personal and business donations make many of the projects and events possible.

Our volunteers spend many hours serving at the museum and are very excited to care for the history of southeast Kansas. The museum’s Board of Trustees is forever grateful for the many hours of volunteerism which help us carry out our mission.

While this redesign will give visitors an easy and convenient view of the exhibits and easier access to the Research Library there are even bigger things on the horizon. Plans for an addition to the museum have been formulated and the museum is seeking large donors who wish to help with these expansion plans and enhancing our exhibit space. The museum has an endowment fund with Community Foundation of SE Kansas for large donations which will provide long-term financial stability.

We invite those who love the special history of the immigrants who came to SE Kansas to work in the coal mining industry or services related to consider donating to the museum, volunteering their time, attending our special programs and exhibits or becoming a member. We honor those brave men and women who left their families to come to the US to seek a better life and worked in the coal mining industry. Many lost their lives as their family members fought for better working conditions.

The museum offers guided tours of our unique exhibitions. Visitors can hear the stories behind these fascinating treasures from our knowledgeable staff.

Mark your calendars for Monday, October 2, 2017 10 a.m. for the debut of the new museum layout as well as the grand opening of the 4th Quarter Special Exhibit “From the Emerald Isle: ‘Tis the Irish” hosted by Maeve Cummings & Kathleen Brown-Cecora.