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Western Mining and Railroad Museum
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Guided Tour

Tour Beginning

Outside of Museum


Main Floor:

Second Floor:

Third Floor:

Simulated Coal Mine

This display shows the earliest coal mining methods.
The miner would drill holes in the face of the coal mine, insert dynamite in the holes and then blast down the coal. Coal cars pulled up and the miners loaded it by hand. They were paid for the number of tons of coal they loaded.


bird cage
Bird Cage: A canary in a cage would be carried into the coal mine to detect the presence of any gases as the health of the bird was observed. The bird was finally replaced by many different instruments to detect gases. The instruments are also on display.

Check In - Check Out Board
When a miner enters the mine he places his brass tag on the "In Board". When he leaves the mine he moves the tag to the "Out Board".

The brass tag bears the miner's social security number which matches a second tag riveted to his mine belt. This is used for position identification in case of a catastrophe.

The system allows people on the surface to know who is underground at any given time.
Miner Board
Miner Tags

Clean Coal
Multi-ethnic Sign in the mine
The sign was to remind miners not to load rock into the coal car with coal.
"A miner loading dirty coal is disloyal - do your duty and load - Clean Coal" written in different languages.

Federal Mine Inspector
Mine Inspectors checked underground and strip mines to guarantee that laws were observed. Originally MESA (pronounced Maysah) Mine Enforcement Safety Administration was under the Department of the Interior. Later Mine Inspectors were placed under the Department of Labor, MSHA, Mine Safety and Health Adminstration.

Today an inspector is assigned to a certain operation for a predetermined period. He has the right to inspect any time he wishes. The Secretary of Labor is his authority. In essence, he is a federal marshall.

When a mine operation is found to be in violation of a law, a citation is written. A fine is assessed and some can be very expensive. If a safety violation is grave enough, an inspector can "Red Tag" part of, or even the entire operation. A "Red Tag" is an automatic closure until the safety infraction or hazard is corrected.

Federal Mine Inspectors are a nessessity which has arisen out of decades of abuse and neglect. The purpose is to ensure a safe and healthy work place.

MSHA Inspector