Kent Mining Museum

Kent Mining Museum tells the little known stories of the county’s coal mining industry and the mining communities of East Kent.

Following a competitive tender, Designmap were appointed as interpretation planners and lead designers responsible for 3D and spatial design, graphic design, branding and digital media concept design. The project was funded by Hadlow Collage and the NLHF.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the project was working directly with the Kent miners. Hearing their stories first-hand and discussing with them how to tell those stories was fascinating and critical to developing both the narrative and the design. Our prime objective was to create an engaging and accessible exhibition that featured the voices of their community. The objects displayed in the museum were gifted by the miners and their families.

The design concept for the museum was to create an above and below ground experience. The design of the ground floor gallery is inspired by the industrial language of pit head spaces such as stores, locker rooms, and lift cages. Here visitors can see displays of miners tools and equipment, play an interactive mining game and watch a series of filmed interviews, in which miners and their families speak with great pride, warmth and humour about their work and lives.

Vistors descend from the first floor via stairs or lift, accompanied by projected shadows of miners heading down to the pit face. In the basement there is a large projected video wall showing an animated film telling the story of the migration of miners from all over the UK to Kent. In addition there are a series of mobile showcases which are used for temporary exhibitions.

The museum is located in Betteshanger Park. In the park adjacent to the museum there is a mine-themed playground, for which we provided concept designs.

This is really a must see if you are visiting or live in the area to understand the local history in a national context.

Having grown up in Deal during the 1984 miners strike and seen the subsequent end of the Kent Coal Field it was a fascinating insight, learning that mining grew with a vastly diverse community and seeing some of the old artefacts. What really makes this work though is real people telling their story, some through short engaging videos but also those retired miners that host the place.
Well worth a visit.

Gem of a museum. I was unaware that people had travelled as far as they did to work the Kent mines. Visit was helped by a very knowledgeable volunteer, who had actually worked down the mines.