By Wendy Holdren
The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum has announced its 2014 season opening, marking the 52nd season of coal mine tours.
“What started out as just a short underground tour has evolved into a cultural journey back into early West Virginia mining history,” said Leslie Gray Baker, director of operations at the Exhibition Coal Mine Complex.
Visitors can now tour the underground coal mine, visit the restored buildings of the coal camp, the Rahall Company Store and Museum, the pioneer village “The Mountain Homestead,” and the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia.
Baker said the Exhibition Coal Mine hosts approximately 48,000 visitors each year, who come from across the country.
“In the spring and fall, we have hundreds of schoolchildren that come on field trips and then during the summer months, we see mostly tourists from out of state.”
She said the Exhibition Coal Mine is expecting even more Boy Scouts than last year, as the Summit is now home to the newest High Adventure Camp.
The Mine Gift Shop is now fully stocked with a huge selection of coal figurines, T-shirts and sweatshirts, West Virginia crafts, freshly made fudge and other unique souvenirs.
Baker said everyone is invited to attend the annual Sunrise Easter Service on April 20, which will be officiated by Pastor Gene Miller of Flat Branch Baptist Church in Arnett.
“We’ve been having a sunrise service every year since the Pemberton Coal Camp Church was relocated to the Exhibition Coal Mine,” Baker said.
The service begins at 6 a.m. and refreshments will be provided afterward.
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