Muzeum Górnictwa Węglowego

Useful Information

Location: ul. 3 Maja 19, 41-800 Zabrze
(50.30079838570014, 18.786061469063558)
Open: Closed due to renovation.
Fee: Closed due to renovation.
Classification: SubterraneaMining Museum
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Address: Muzeum Górnictwa Węglowego, Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze, ul. Georgiusa Agricoli 2, 41-800 Zabrze, Tel: +48-32630-3091, Fax: +48-32277-1125. 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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1948 Union Mining Museum in Sosnowiec opened.
1972 Union Mining Museum in Sosnowiec closed.
1981 Museum established.
APR-2013 museum merged with other industrial tourism facilities in Zabrze.
01-NOV-2017 due to renovation of building Museum closed until further notice.


The Muzeum Górnictwa Węglowego (Coal Mining Museum) is located in Upper Silesia, a large industrial district and a coal basin. It is dedicated to the coal mining of the last 200 years. The first mine was established in 1791. After World War II the city was referred to as capital of Polish mining. Initially it was the only state museum of coal mining industry in Poland and subordinated to the Ministry of Mining. From 1999 it was operated by the Silesian Voivodeship self-government.

The base of the collection was the Union Mining Museum in Sosnowiec which was closed in 1972. The Zabrze museum extended its collection by searches, purchases and donations. Currently, the collection contains 32,000 items. Most of it are technical exhibits of all aspects of mining, like mining, drainage, ventilation, transport, lighting, surveying, communication. The rich archives include a unique collection of 18th and 19th century technical drawings. The geological collection is mainly a a collection of Carboniferous fossils and imprints. Mining history and culture is represented by a collections of mining uniforms and insignia, exhibits related to St. Barbara, the patron Saint of mining, and ethnographic collections on the everyday life of Silesian miners. There is an art collection with mining related paintings, graphics and sculptures. A highlight is a sculpture made of coal. Additionally, there are collections of medals, mugs and musical instruments.

The museum has numerous buildings, but the main building of the museum is the former mayor's residence and county council meeting place. It was built in 1874 in an eclectic style and extended in 1906 by the Berlin architect Arnold Hartmann. The two-story entrance hall contains a wooden staircase. The assembly hall of the county council has a wooden, polychrome vault and stained-glass windows.

In April 2013 the museum was merged with several abandoned mining remains and show mines in the town, so today it operates all of them. These are the Sztolnia Królowa Luiza complex, the Historic Coal Mine "Guido", and the former Coal Mining Museum. The museum also conducts multiple cultural and educational activities. Concerts, theatrical performances, outdoor events and mining related ceremonies are offered. Lessons for school children are carried out in the basement of an authentic mine. Funds obtained from the European Union, allowed ambitious investment tasks.

The exhibition on geology and palaeobotany shows fossils of the Carboniferous period, mostly in the sedimentary rocks around the coal seams. The plants are typically petrified as coal, which creates a typical black "print" on the bright rock. The plants are ferns, mosses and trees, there are leaves and tree trunks. The exhibition also has a section with minerals and ores from the areas of Bytom, Tarnowskie Góry and Olkusz. The typical ores of zinc and lead ores are galena, sphalerite or zinc blende.

The mining technique exhibition shows mostly wooden tools and machinery from early mining. The flint mines discovered in the 1920s in the village of Krzemionki Opatowskie are the oldest mines in Poland from the Neolithic period. They are approximately 4,000 years old. Stone age man mined flint which was used to produce a multitude of tools. The remains include axes, hammers, fists, spear and arrowheads, flint concretions, as well as simple deer horn tools. The collection of photographs also includes photos from archaeological excavations. The next mines were salt mines and since Bronze Age ore mines. The ancient mining used tools of an astonishing simplicity, turnstiles and wooden buckets, mining hammers (irons) and chisels. One highlight is an ancient system of water pumps from the tin mine in Gierczyn during the 18th century.

The next part of the exhibition is dedicated to the steam engine, which was used in mining mainly as a drainage pump motor. The first steam engine on the European continent was installed in 1788 in the silver and lead mine "Fryderyk" in Tarnowskie Góry in Upper Silesia. The museum collection includes a 1:10 reconstruction of this steam engine which was recreated on the basis of old technical drawings. The original steam hoisting machine from 1915 with 2,000 horsepower. It was manufactured at the Prinz Rudolf steelworks in Dülmen.

The history of mining exhibition is dedicated to the fate of people, the history of mines, offices, institutions and organizations during the complicated political history. It includes written memoirs of miners, documents on the activities of mines, and mining associations. Other exhibits are brotherhood funds, union cards, and share certificates of mining companies. There are also memorabilia of distinguished figures of mining. A number of famous personalities visited Upper Silesian mines.

The exhibition of mining culture is a collection of paintings, sculptures, prayer books, and other artworks. Much of the artworks is dedicated to religious themes, especially St. Barbara, their patron Saint. Another aspect of miners culture are the numerous miner uniforms which were worn during processions, parades, and various celebrations. They emphasized the importance of the profession and the position of its owner in the hierarchy of the mining society. And of course there are numerous artworks of famous mining related non-professional artists.

The museum also has huge archives with over 8,000 technical drawings, plans and maps, many of which are unique 18th and 19th century works. It has the archives of the Oberbergamt Breslau (Higher Mining Authority in Wrocław). In 2019, a collection with 970 photographs by Arkadiusz Gola was added.