Irony alert!

There is a Kentucky Coal Museum. And they’re working to switch their power source.

The museum is installing solar panels on its roof, part of a project aimed at lowering the energy costs of one of the city’s largest electric customers. It’s also a symbol of the state’s efforts to move away from coal as its primary energy source as more coal-fired power plants are replaced by natural gas. The state legislature recently lifted its decades-old ban on nuclear power.

The museum is built in the shell of the old company store, another relic of the benevolent tyranny of coal. I don’t understand why anyone looks fondly on an institution that was so oppressive and so destructive.


  1. microraptor says

    I don’t understand why anyone looks fondly on an institution that was so oppressive and so destructive.

    Lots and lots of PR spending.

  2. Moggie says

    Don’t underestimate the appeal of jobs for life. Of course, your life might be quite short, but at least you’d have a job!

  3. unclefrogy says

    a coal museum that is changing the way it’s electrical power is produced that is built inside what was once “the company store” is so full of the reality of change.

    I think they are exactly right they should change to photovoltaics. With our increasing knowledge of chemistry and our use of man-made products it seems appropriate that they should abandon the primitive burning of coal for electrical generation and toward a more sophisticated use of technology that is represented by the photovoltaics for electrical generation . There are more useful things that can be made from the carbon compounds that make up coal then ashes ,heat and temporary electrical energy that also have a much longer useful life span.
    uncle frogy

  4. Ted Powell says

    PZ wrote: I don’t understand why anyone looks fondly on an institution that was so oppressive and so destructive.

    The Holocaust was—to put it mildly—”so oppressive and so destructive.” Yet google indicates there are multiple Holocaust museums, including one here in Vancouver, preserving and presenting this thing of the past, just as burning coal is becoming a thing of the past.

  5. wzrd1 says

    @Ted Powell #5, I agree completely.
    It’s better to remember our mistakes and obsolescent technologies than to forget them and repeat them.

    As for coal being useless, it still has uses. Coal is an excellent filter for waste water and even has uses for filtering drinking water.
    As for burning it for fuel, some deep rural homes still do have coal furnaces. Until rather recently, some military installations heated the barracks with coal. I actually had a fireman’s license to operate barracks furnaces. They switched largely to oil heating, as electrical heating isn’t economic on that scale in those areas.
    Personally, my only preferred usage remains using it for filtration media.

  6. madscientist says

    I don’t see such musea as looking fondly on an oppressive and destructive institution – many are simply there to show what went on in the past and give people some idea of how things were, as horrible as that may have been. Even some war musea, at least a few decades ago, put in an effort to remind people what a monstrous waste war is. (Unfortunately in the past 20 years I have seen such places turn into obscene excreta glorifying murder and wanton destruction and idolizing the politicians promoting such evil.) Coal will still have its use in the future, and ironically it’s best to cut down on its use now so that future generations have greater access to it when it’s needed.

  7. says

    As much harm as coal and the coal industry has done to people, it also was a huge component of the industrial revolution. Glad to be on the other side of that.

  8. microraptor says

    Remember when the coal industry actually used that song in an advertisement?