Visiting Chinese coal mine operators pose with “Sam,” who stands at the opening to the simulated coal mine at Aldrich Museum. (Contributed)
Visiting Chinese coal mine operators pose with “Sam,” who stands at the opening to the simulated coal mine at Aldrich Museum. (Contributed)

Archived Story

Visitors tour Aldrich Coal Mine Museum

Published 2:52pm Monday, March 25, 2013

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

On March 6, Aldrich Coal Mine Museum in Montevallo had a visit from 16 representatives of the Chinese Coal and Chemical Industry and their two interpreters. Most of them were department heads, managers and engineers.

The visitors explained the purpose of their trip was to learn about the history and the development of coal mining operations in the U.S.

They wanted to gain knowledge in new ways to enhance the efficiency and safety of their own industry and to learn how the U.S. made progress in those areas.

“This was an exciting visit,” said Henry Emfinger, owner of the museum, “and the second visit from Chinese coal mining operators. We were surprised and pleased to know that they located our little museum and that they found it interesting enough to send another group.”

These people were extremely polite and friendly, and they even gave us a beautiful wall hanging before they left.”

The itinerary for the travelers had provided stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hollywood before coming to Montevallo. On leaving the museum, they were to stop at the University of Alabama, then on to Washington and New York.

Kang Wang, one of the interpreters, was excited about their visit to Hollywood, and even more at the prospect of New York. “The Big Apple,” she said. “Shopping, shopping, shopping!”

The Chinese visitors made lots of pictures and asked many questions through their interpreters. Kang Wang was an employee of the tour-planning company, Shaanxi International Sports Exchange Center. The other interpreter was connected to the University of Alabama.

Sometimes we forget or do not fully appreciate the attractions and opportunities we have at home and the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum may be one of those. If the museum is interesting enough for visitors from China, what’s a mile or two? Open hours are Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at other times by appointment. Henry Emfinger will be glad to see you! For more information, 665-2886.


Catherine Legg can be reached by email at


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