Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

History of the building

Le bâtiment des mineurs en 1955. © D. R.

The Musée Les Mineurs Wendel is located in the miners’ building, covering around 1,800 m2. This was a place which every single miner would pass through during their working day.

Whilst the Wendel headquarters were in operation from 1865 to 1986 they contained the infrastructure vital for staff and for mining operations to run smoothly: the Hall du Mineur (‘Miner’s Hall’), offices, bathrooms and the Salle des Pendus (‘Hanging Room’ – a cloakroom), the TV monitoring station, the lamp room and union offices.

The oldest part of the building dates back to 1866, and the facility was enlarged and modernised up until 1977. It fell out of use after 1986 when the Wendel headquarters ceased activities.The museum’s exhibition spaces have been in the building since July 2012.

Visitors will discover the history and original function of the different rooms through audio terminals and explanatory displays in three languages (French, German, and English) placed in the exhibition areas.

The exhibition areas

Outils de jardinage. © Musée Les Mineurs WendelFrom the Hall du Mineur, visitors take a step 300 million years back in time to discover the formation of coal. Next, a corridor leading to the Salle des Pendus covers the 170 year history of coal mining in Lorraine, from its discovery in the 1830s until the final coal mine closed in 2004.

A miner’s daily life, punctuated by workstations, is presented in the foremen’s cloakroom where visitors discover their leisure activities, rest times and how they washed and ate, shown through everyday objects and household appliances which gradually improved the comfort of their housing.

The social environment enjoyed by miners (health, training, leisure, housing etc.) is displayed in the showers – and without forgetting Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners celebrated by all working in the mine on 4 December.

Finally, in a monumental Salle des Pendus, the work of the mine is represented across 11 trades performed above and below ground as a representative sample of the around 700 trades making up the long chain needed to extract coal.

Meet and greet

L’un des guides du Musée. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

A meet and greet with a former miner immerses visitors in the daily life and work of miners through an authentic account and anecdotes. For example, this enables visitors to supplement their visit to La Mine Wendel with a more personal approach to miners’ lives.

In particular, the former miner will relive his first days in the mine and subsequent career in this special and dangerous world. He will also recall his daily life and the social environment set up by the mine for miners and their families (housing, training, health, leisure etc.).

Educational activities