Coal mining museum has a new boss

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Monday, 25th January 2016, 2:07 pm
Updated Monday, 25th January 2016, 2:09 pm
The National Coal Mining Museum for England has announced the appointment of Mike Benson as its new director. Picture: Simon Dewhurst Photography

Mike Benson has taken over the reins from Dr Margaret Faull at the helm of the tourist attraction in Overton.

He joins the museum on New Road after four years as director at the Anglo-Saxon museum Bede’s World.

Mr Benson, a former Teesside steelworker of 28 years, became involved with heritage while completing his Open University degree.

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He began his heritage career as a voluntary guide at The Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum. He later went on to set up Iron Awe, a group dedicated to educating and inspiring the community about their local history.

Iron Awe gained award-winning status and Mr Benson was subsequently appointed as the director of Ryedale Folk Museum, where he stayed for seven years and won a distinguished Clore Fellowship.

In 2011 he took over at Bede’s World and worked hard to instil his passion for heritage into the South Tyneside museum before being offered the position at the mining museum.

Mr Benson said: “I’m really looking forward to working alongside everyone here at NCMME and alongside the communities we are here to serve, it is both an incredible honour to be director here in this special place and incredibly humbling. We will very much be looking to build upon the successes of the museum as we continue to inspire folk from far and wide with our heritage, a heritage that transformed the world with values and ways are as relevant today as ever.”

The appointment was welcomed by David Hinchcliffe, the chairman of the museum.

The former Wakefield MP added: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Mike to the museum this year. His wealth of experience and passion for heritage is truly motivating and I am looking forward to working with Mike to ensure that the museum continues to inspire and delight visitors for many years to come.”

See or call 01924 848806 for details of the museum’s forthcoming events.