The collections and the documentation centre


Elément d’un indicateur de profondeur de cage dans le puits. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

The Musée Les Mineurs Wendel was awarded the title of ‘Musée de France’ in 2002, and is subject to scientific and technical monitoring by the state.

The Musée Les Mineurs Wendel collections, made up of nearly 5,000 items and machines, are primarily equipment donations from the company Houillères du Bassin de Lorraine which mined Lorraine coal from 1946 to 2004.

These are split into four well represented categories: technical, geological, above and below ground transport, and ethnological. Part of the Musée Les Mineurs Wendel collection is housed in La Mine Wendel, and a further part is kept in the museum reserves and displayed a temporary themed exhibitions.


Technical collections

Haveuse électrique de marque Sagem exposée dans le musée. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

The equipment, tools and machines used to extract coal have gradually come to the museum as the headquarters closed and allied industries (coking plants, carbochemical industry, pyrolysis centre, power plant etc.) ceased their activities.

These are extremely varied and are a valuable witness to the development of coal mining techniques in Lorraine from the late 19th until the early 21st century.

They include large mining equipment (shearers, roof supports, conveyors, heading machines etc.), pit infrastructure, excavation tunnels and walls (lighting, means of communication, ventilation, pumps, transformers, buckets, skips, winches etc), training materials (mock-ups, educational material etc.) and safety equipment (posters, rescue gear, stretchers etc.).

The miners’ tools and equipment are also not forgotten, represented by helmets, safety lamps, breathing apparatus, picks, axes, pneumatic drills, surveying tools, blasting equipment and more which demonstrate the development of working conditions from the mid 19th century onwards.

Some of the heading and winning equipment is kept in situ in La Mine Wendel, displayed in life-size tunnels identical to the installations which existed in mine pits during the early 21st century. Other machines are also exhibited in the pit head.

Geological collections

Fossile d’une écorce de lepidodendron. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

These collections bring together a large number of fossils brought up from the mine pit, core samples and samples of rocks taken from all over the Lorraine coalfield.

The hall of the Musée Les Mineurs Wendel displays fossils representative of the plants of the Carboniferous period, which were the origins of coal around 300 million years ago.

Coal products produced or used by carbochemistry, the steel industry, thermal power stations and individuals are also included in the museum’s collections and some are exhibited in the hall.

Above and below ground transport collections

Locomotive électrique utilisée au siège de La Houve. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

The Musée Les Mineurs Wendel holds an important collection of transport equipment used both underground (haulage) and above ground (railway stock).

The ‘haulage’ (underground) equipment collection contains various cars from all over the Lorraine coalfield used to transport equipment, coal and workers. Various locomotives (diesel, electric, compressed air etc.) are also on display.

Other less common means of transport such as the monorail, the ‘Streckenkuli’ (cable transport) or the télémine (for workers) also form part of the museum’s collection.

Transport used above ground for moving workers about and sending coal to different clients leaving from the wash houses also make a showing, represented by an important collection of railway stock (steam-powered, electric and diesel locomotives, cars to transport workers and coal etc.).

Ethnological collections

Machine à laver mécanique de marque Miele. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

Objects related to miners’ daily and family lives are largely exhibited in the Musée Les Mineurs Wendel (household appliances, furniture, leisure, gardening tools etc.). The exhibits are primarily donations or loans from individuals.

The museum pursues an active item collection policy to enhance topics such as leisure, daily life at work and in the mining communities and immigration in the Lorraine coalfields. Anyone interested in donating or loaning objects to the museum should, therefore, contact us – all offerings will be considered.


Carte d’accès à la coopérative de Petite-Rosselle/Vieille-Verrerie. © Musée Les Mineurs Wendel

The museum has its own documentation service specialising in the subject of coal. This contains a variety of works on the history of mining techniques and coal in Lorraine, training, the economy of coal, the history of techniques, safety and more.

These can be consulted on site by prior arrangement.