A film crew with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

A film crew with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History works to record a video at the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine in Pocahontas, Va., Sunday afternoon. The video will be included as part of the ‘Deep Time Hall’ that deals with the Carboniferous period. The exhibit that is expected to open in 2019 will go into detail through videos and other interactive presentations on how coal was formed from plants. Pictured from left are: Geologist Scott Elrick of the Illinois Geologic Survey and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Glen Allen, grip, Tom Fitz, director of photography, Kate Raise, producer and director, and Amanda Wallace, associate producer. 

POCAHONTAS, Va. — A piece of local history will soon be on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

David Woodard, tourism director for Tazewell County, said paleobotanists, exhibit developers, geologists, geochemists and others with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History have been at the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine gathering information and all that is needed to create an exhibit.

A 2019 exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History is planned and will feature the mine’s coal seam and fossils, he said.

“This fall a specialty castings company from Canada spent a week in the mine doing silicon castings of the walls and ceilings, as well as specific fossils, to form the exhibit,” he said. “This week the Smithsonian crews will be on hand doing photography, videography, and story line building for the exhibit.”

Woodard said that “anything in our area being featured by such a prestigious organization is big news.” “However, the work the Town of Pocahontas and the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy have put into the Exhibition Mine to develop it into a world class attraction, which has led to this feature with the nation’s premier museum, deserves much recognition,” he said.

A formal announcement about the project will be made by representatives from the Smithsonian this morning at the exhibition mine.

A National Historic Landmark, retired coal miners guide tours inside the mine that served as the birthplace of the world-famous Pocahontas #3 coal that heated homes across the United States and was the chosen fuel of the United States Navy.

The mine started production in the 1882, the first in the sub-bituminous coal of the Pocahontas Coalfield.

It was established as an exhibition mine in 1938, the first exhibition coal mine in the nation.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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