3/31/2013 5:59 PM
by Karen Franklin
BECKLEY - Hundreds of people visited the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine during its opening weekend.
The 14,000-square-foot exhibition mine offers artifacts, an underground tour and a youth museum. Director Leslie Baker told WOAY a visit to the mine is important for both locals and tourists.
"People come here -- they've had a father, or grandfather, or great-grandfather or uncle -- who worked in the coal mines, and they didn't go underground," Baker said. "So it's really an eye opener for them to find out what toiling in the coal mines was like."
The exhibition mine hopes to see as many as 50,000 visitors this year. Rolando Chacon came to see the museum from North Carolina.
"The amount of hard work and the lighting and just the circumstances that they had to work through," Chacon said. "I think it was humbling. We complain about our jobs, but look at those guys."
The Beckley Exhibition Coal mine is now preparing for more than 40,000 boy scouts come July.