Oroszlány, 80 km west of Budapest in the Vértes Mountains was a mining boom town of the mid-twentieth century. Mining began in the area in 1939 when the population was only 15,000. With the growth of the industry during and after the Second World War it increased to more than 21,000, and Oroszlány gained the formal status of a town in 1954. In recent decades most coal has been extracted by open cast methods.
The museum occupies a modernist group of pit-head buildings of reinforced concrete and glass at the XX (i.e. twentieth) shaft of the Márkushegyi pit where it was established in 2001 with the support of the Vértes (electric) Power Co. Visitors can see the winding engine in its cubic engine house, the circuit for the coal trams and the mine manager’s office. They can go to the top of the headframe to view the mine and the surrounding area. Examples are collected here of the typical mining equipment of the region, including coal-cutting machines developed by Hungarian engineers since the 1950s, railway locomotives and coal waggons. There is a memorial to miners who lost their lives at work. A reconstructed section of mine allows visitors to see the conditions underground, methods of supporting the rock, ventilation systems, lighting and coal cutting techniques. Exhibitions give an overview of mining history with examples of tools, clothing, minerals and even the local brass band.