Museum of Science and Industry

Coal Mine

Exhibit Essentials

This exhibit is suitable for all ages.
30 minutes
Main Level, Farrell Family Court
Museum Map
This exhibit requires an additional ticket with a specified entry time.
Nonmembers may select Coal Mine as part of an Explorer ticket package. Members: $8 adults, $6 children (3-11).

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The Coal Mine was the first interactive experience featured at the Museum, and has been a permanent exhibit since 1933. Step on the hoist and take a narrated ride to the bottom of a mine shaft. You’ll examine the evolution of technology used in mining coal, and experience first-hand the work environment of the U.S. mining industry.

Tour Details

Upon entering the mine shaft, you’ll see coal that has been mined and loaded into coal mine trains, where the coal is weighed. From the trains, coal is emptied into a large hopper, called a “skip,” which brings the coal to the surface. Next, see a demonstration of a sump pump that collects water seepage from the mine and removes it to the surface.

The tour continues in the safety room. Here you’ll receive a demonstration of methane gas testing methods used in a coal mine.

Then, board a work train to view a demonstration of roof bolting before you disembark in various work rooms of the mine, which show both historic and modern mechanical methods of mining coal. Various “miners” operate machinery such as a room and pillar-type undercutting machine, a twin extension face drilling machine, and an automated coal loading machine. From here you’ll travel through a geology crosscut where you’ll be able to examine fossils imbedded in the shale above a coal seam. Next, take a journey into the longwall mining room for a demonstration on modern mining techniques.

The final stop on the tour is in the mine control room, located above ground, where you’ll observe and learn how modern mines are controlled with modern equipment, closed circuit television monitors and computers.



Please note that the Coal Mine is not accessible to strollers, Segways or wheelchairs.

Museum Hours
  • Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
More Information

Museum Location
Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
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