Today I went to Beamish Museum as a researcher of the mining industry and not just a member of the public having a look around. I was able to sit in on three interviews and ask questions to costumed characters at the museum. First we started with Hayley who worked within the social media sector and, although technically out of period, she helped us to understand how the modern day public communicate with such a museum when outside of the grounds. We were also able to understand how we use social media and link it with our heritage. She told us how important her job was in advertising the museum, taking photos under the right lighting and communicating with other businesses to keep the knowledge of all workers and the past flowing from one generation to the next.
Next we spoke to Rosie, who is an important part of the collections team and enabled us to see how important it was to raise funds in order to keep the museum looking pristine and to keep bringing in new buildings and parts of history. She told us of how the church was the last building brought to the museum brick by brick and how there are plans to build a 1950’s town as well as bringing in other new buildings from close communities.
Finally, we spoke to Jonathon who is not only Head of Industry, but a head full of useful and interesting knowledge of the mining heritage throughout Durham and the whole country. He had a lot to say about the past; right from the beginning (before the 1800’s) up until the last mine closed in December 2015. He spoke about the different types of mines, different types of coal, showed us the lamps they used and enlightened us on their ways of life.
It was very engaging and fascinating to talk to people who are so passionate about their job and the history of our area. It’s made me think deeper and want to research more into my heritage and the past of the village I was brought up in.