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How Well Is The Past Interpreted At The Blists Hill Museum?

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Introduction

How Well Is The Past Interpreted At The Blists Hill Museum? Blists Hill open air museum covers about 50 acres and consists of buildings that have been there since the 19th Century and some buildings that have been saved from other places and re-erected on the site. Most exhibits are designed to recreate a late Victorian town and the museum has staff dressed in the appropriate costume explaining and demonstrating the historical sites. Blists Hill demonstrates a limited understanding of what coal mining was like in the Victorian era. There are a couple examples of both the drift mine and the bell pit but there was not much detail and they were all closed off. This was really disappointing, as I could not gather much information about mining in the era from Blists Hill alone. I would need to gain extra information if I was going to get enough information. There was however, some information and it was represented correctly. It would have been better if it was working and people were telling you what would actually happen. Overall it was a poor showing. The Drift mine is dug into the side of a hill and the earth above the coal seam is supported by wooden posts. It had tracks leading out of it which would have probably been used by the coal carts to get to the incline where the coal would be loaded onto barges. ...read more.

Middle

Parts of bodies could also get pounded in the hammers if not being careful. Two people had fallen into the furnace after an explosion occurred while lowering the charge into it. As well as coal and iron, steam power was another major industry in the 19th Century. This was also very disappointing at Blists Hill because nothing running on steam was working. There was not much information because there was nobody to ask. The Blists Hill mine used a steam engine to lift the windlass and to lift the cages down the shaft. This however was not working for safety reasons because the mine was closed off. There were also two steam engines that would provide hot air blast for the blast furnace but those weren't working either for safety and because it was too expensive and dangerous to get the furnaces up and running again. There were two blowing engines called David and Sampson but they weren't working either. They were very tall and would have produced lots of steam. Overall Blists Hill was very disappointing for the steam engines because nothing was working, meaning I didn't get a good look at how anything worked or any important uses. Steam power was very important because it was used to speed up the industrial revolution. The first steam engine was built in 1698, but in 1708 a man called Thomas Newcomen invented the first practical steam engine as shown below on the following page. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many miners would go to the pub after working in the mines. After considering all of this evidence I have been able to find out that Blists Hill does not represent the time efficiently. Although there are good examples of living conditions, most of the over exhibits are either not working or there is nobody to help you with it. The worst exhibit was that of the iron working because there is no help, nothing working and all you have are a few boards with writing on and you have to find the correct order. Some of the reasons that they are shut is because of money problems or it would be too dangerous to run but it would still be better running because then people could experience the conditions and dangers that people in the 19th Century would have experienced. If you were looking for more answers about what life was really like then you could use the CD-ROM, go to another museum or look in books. A few more exhibits could be added to improve it and maybe start some things working again. It would also be helpful if there were people at each of the exhibits to tell you a brief history about them and to answer any questions about them. This living museum, by that I mean a museum that tries to bring past to life by using the houses from that era and having people from that era, is not really good at showing the past. ...read more.

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