School Travel Organiser takes a closer look at what the National Coal Mining Museum offers schools.

The National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield in Yorkshire helps students investigate Britain’s industrial past through a combination of underground experiences, workshops and teacher-led visits.

A visit supports learning in subjects including Science, Art and History for Key Stages 1 through to 4. 

The Underground Experience

Suitable for all Key Stages is the Underground Experience, which takes students 140 metres underground with an ex-coal miner to discover first-hand what life was like as a miner.

Schools can choose from the Meet a Miner Tour or the Hands-on Tour.

The Meet the Miner Tour will take pupils on a chronological journey through mining from the 1840s to the present day. The tour will teach students how mining has changed over time, from when whole families, including children, worked in the mines to the introduction of mechanisation.

The Hands-on Tour has a number of interactive areas. For example pupils can experience 19th century mining as they work as a family to dig coal. There is also a lighting area, underground stables and a geology area.


The National Coal Mining Museum also provides a range of workshops, including the below…

Key Stage 1 & 2: Sally/Sam Fletcher It’s a Hard Life

Focusing on the History curriculum and specifically looking at the topic of Chronological Knowledge Beyond 1066, this workshop will see students discover what conditions were like for miners during the 19th century through role-play activities.

Key Stage 2: Rocks and Fossils

This hands-on Science based workshop sees Key Stage 2 students investigating rocks and discovering how coal is formed. Part of the workshop will also include pupils creating their own fossils to take back to the classroom. 

Key Stage 3 & 4: What’s in our Water?

What’s in our Water? gives students the chance to work with a Science specialist from the University of Huddersfield to investigate the chemical, biological and physical processes of cleaning polluted minewater.

The session will include a guided tour of the minewater treatment plant, and field experiments and chemical analysis conducted by the students.

Key Stage 3 & 4: Drawing Underground

Using the underground spaces at the National Coal Mining Museum, Art students will work with an artist to experiment with light and develop drawing techniques.

Teacher-led visits

The museum is located on two former coal mines, Caphouse Colliery and Hope Pit. Teachers can lead students around the galleries and exhibitions that are on site (mainly based at Caphouse) and also explore the original pit buildings, such as the steam winding engine house, the pithead baths and the stables. 


Classroom resources are also available from the museum to support or consolidate learning back in the classroom. As well as downloadable factsheets available online, schools can borrow themed loans boxes, containing handling objects, images and information sheets to assist a hands-on approach to learning. 

For more information call 01924-848806 or e-mail