Musée de l'Ecole et de la Mine

Useful Information

Location: 24 Rue de Montceau-les-Mines, 62440 Harnes.
(50.446148, 2.906045)
Open: All year Tue, Thu 14-17 after appointment.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaMining Museum SubterraneaReplica Underground Mine MineCoal Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Musée de l'Ecole et de la Mine, 24 Rue de Montceau-les-Mines, 62440 Harnes, Tel: +33-321-75-38-97, Tel: +33-681-67-23-69. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1981 museum started with the collections of Madame Legrain who was teacher at the village.


Located in the heart of the Nord-Pas de Calais coalfield.


Musée de l'Ecole et de la Mine (School and Mine Museum) is actually a museum about mining and about an early 20th century classroom. It is not a museum about a mining school, it is about the school which was visited by the children of the miners. It is located in the town Harnes in Pas-de-Calais, in the middle coalfield where hundreds of collieries existed. The museum is operated by the non-profit association amis de l’école et de la mine (friends of the school and the mine).

The school exhibition is based on the personal collection of the former teacher Madame Legrain. She prepared a classroom for exhibition ind the 1981 Congress of Secular Works. The mayor of the town wanted to keep the classroom and provided accommodation in a former school building which was owned by the municipality. When the husband of Madame Legrain, Monsieur Legrain visited the museum for the first time he was impressed by a strange 30 m long room in the cellar. He had the idea to use it for a replica mine, as it already looked like a mine gallery. So the strange combination of a mining and education museum started.

There is a fully equipped schoolroom, with the room of teaching materials adjoining the classroom. The museum shows remain like tools and machinery from the pits 9/17 and 21/22 of Harnes. As there are also the reconstructions of several underground galleries, this is a local history museum with massive bias on mining. Then there is the lamp room, the miner's canteen, and a demonstration of télégrisoumétrie. We have not found a translation of this French term, which actually means the supervision of the mine with sensors and remote shutdown of all electric systems when the level of explosive gasses is too high. The sensors to measure the firedamp content in the air are called grisoumètre (firedamp detector) in French, because the French term for firedamp is grisou.

The museum is open only during summer two days a week after appointment. But since 1984 it opens on each open day of historic monuments, and since 1991 it opens on each European Heritage Day.