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336 Mate St.
Matewan, WV 25678


The WV Mine Wars Museum preserves and interprets artifacts and historical records of the local communities affected by the Mine Wars, exploring historical events from multiple perspectives through the lives of ordinary people. The museum is dedicated to educating the public about the events of the Mine Wars era, including the history of the United Mine Workers of America in the local area; the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912-1913; the 1920 Matewan Massacre; and the 1921 Miners March leading to Battle of Blair Mountain. Finally, it aims to educate youth, promote heritage tourism, and foster local economic development.



Teacher Resources

The West Virginia Mine Wars were a complicated, inspiring, and tragic series of events that occurred in Southern West Virginia in the first decades of the 20th century when coal miners and their supporters fought against unfair and often illegal working and living conditions enforced by their bosses with the tacit support of many government officials. Teaching this complicated and multifaceted history is a difficult task, but one that is important in helping students understand United States and West Virginia history. What is more, teaching this history is about more than just the story of what happened, it is also an opportunity to explore the role of groups and individuals who are often left out of our historical narratives such as women, immigrants, poor people, and people of color, all of which played a central role in the story of the Mine Wars. As part of our mission of telling the story of the Mine Wars beyond the four walls of the museum, we have created and field tested lessons for 4th/5th, 8th, and 11th grades to help teachers teach this important history. All the lessons are also aligned with West Virginia state curriculum standards.

Thanks to The West Virginia Humanities Council for making this project possible.


Students from Morgantown Learning Academy reading about Coal Camp Life and learning about scrip.

Students from Morgantown Learning Academy reading about Coal Camp Life and learning about scrip.

2-Week Unit Plan for 8th Grade

We are thrilled to finally launch our 2-week unit plan on West Virginia Mine Wars History, available now in PDF format.

These lessons were carefully crafted with teacher input, and revised over the course of several months. Although these lessons are a final product, we are eager to hear about ways that you have used these lessons in your classrooms, and we would love to hear from you about your success and challenges, or about how you adapted or added to these lessons.


Union Poster Activity Click HERE

4th and 5th Grade Lesson


8th Grade The Hatfield Contract CLICK HERE

8th Grade Lesson


West Virginia Mine Wars Coloring Book

This historical coloring book is designed to be an interactive way for kids to learn about the history of the WV Mine Wars. It has already been distributed to over 1000 fourth graders in West Virginia! If you would like to use a copy of this book for educational purposes only, click here to open the file folders

Background Resources for Teachers

West Virginia Public Broadcasting also has an excellent collection of education resources for background on the Mine Wars and coal camp life.

Further Reading

  • Rebecca J. Bailey, Matewan Before the Massacre: Politics, Coal, and the Roots of Conflict in a West Virginia Community

  • David A. Corbin, Life, Work, and Rebellion in the Coal Fields: The Southern West Virginia Miners 1880-1922.

  • James Green, The Devil is Here in These Hills: West Virginia's Coal Miners and Their Battle for Freedom

  • Ronald L. Lewis, Black Coal Miners in America: Race, Class, and Community Conflict, 1780-1980

  • Lon Savage, Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-1921

  • Joe William Trotter, Coal, Class and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia

  • "The Mine Wars" E-WV Encyclopedia

  • "The Mine Wars" PBS American Experience

  • Wes Harris, When Miners March and Written in Blood