Stara Kopalnia Centrum Nauki i Sztuki in Walbrzych is today a modern science and art centre and a popular post-industrial tourist attraction in Poland.
Coal mining has always played a strategic role in economic development of Walbrzych. The closure of mining plants in 1990’s has had drastic consequences as over 20,000 workers lost their job. Furthermore, industrial infrastructures, historic architecture and mining machinery of historical significance were in danger of being lost and forgotten. In order to emphasize the importance of mining heritage, a successful revitalization process was started at the former Julia coal mine in 2010. The place is known today as Stara Kopalnia Centrum Nauki i Sztuki (The Old Mine Science and Art Centre ). The heritage conservation activity which preserved, conserved and protected industrial buildings and mining artefacts was essential in maintaining Walbrzych’s mining identity. Each of the revitalized buildings gained new uses and functions. Stara Kopalnia comprises several independent branches, including Museum of Industry and Technology, Ceramics Centre and Modern Art Gallery. Located on the site of one of the oldest and best-preserved post-industrial ensembles, the multidisciplinary facility has quickly become a major tourist destination. The project has intended to revive social life in Walbrzych and the entire region. The main objective is to increase the number of actions and initiatives raising cultural awareness and facilitating access to art and history of mining. This consequently increases public awareness, activates local communities and enhances tourism attractiveness.

Resources needed

The total value of the project amounts to PLN 166 258 411,34(ca. EUR 40,000,000) including PLN 50 303 576,27 (ca. EUR 12,000,000) from the European Union funds. Approximately 300 employees, including construction workers, participated in the revitalization project. Currently 46 people are employed.

Evidence of success

Due to its unique and exceptional post-industrial character, the Centre has become a regularly visited place. The total number of visitors was 107 000 in 2017, a 52% increase from the first year of operation. The post-industrial areas and spaces enable the facility to organize various kinds of events and exhibitions, both indoors and outdoors (a total number of 190 in 2017). Many cultural and educational projects have been conducted for local residence , including lectures and workshops.

Difficulties encountered

The deterioration of former industrial complex and its historical character, combined with geological problems inc. difficult subsoil conditions, led to additional works and delays in the project. Moreover, a number of contractors working at the construction site could not avoid mutual interference.

Potential for learning or transfer

Many regions have abandoned post-mining areas needed for restoration. They can learn about the process. Revitalization include renovation and adaptation of buildings for new functions but the main process is about reinvigorating the area. The former coal mine has been changed into a multi-functional modern science and art centre that meets the needs of local residents and tourists. The place fulfils vital needs of local communities, especially former miners who had been working at this place for decades. The retired workers cherish memories of the past and derive pleasure from the identity and the history of their former workplace. It means the place constitutes a bridge between the past and the future and is an engine for economic development based on tourism. The exploitation phase comprising facility operation ought to be regarded as a multi-level operational programme, representing a wide range of units. A solid effort put forth at this phase ensures the project’s success.

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Project
Main institution
The Old Mine Science and Art Centre (Stara Kopalnia Centrum Nauki i Sztuki)
Location
Dolnośląskie, Poland (Polska)
Start Date
April 2010
End Date
November 2014

Contact

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