Photo Project and Discussion to Highlight Anthracite Mining Heritage Month at National Museum of Industrial History

For generations, photographers have been drawn to the unique social and visual landscape of northeast Pennsylvania. Australian native Dane Rhys will illustrate his recent journeys into the modern anthracite coal industry in a special talk on Sunday, January 26th at 2pm at the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, PA. Going into underground mines that appear almost unchanged from a century ago to open pit mines with machines larger than most buildings, Dane has set out to tell the story of older workers in coal mines and many other industries. His captivating presentation will literally put faces to the modern anthracite industry to help define its past, present, and future.  Joining Dane will be members of the Independent Miners Association to give patrons a view into the modern coal mining industry from the perspective of those who still toil underground.

“Talking to current miners and connecting to modern society is necessary to understand our industrial history and legacy,” said Mike Piersa, Historian at the National Museum of Industrial History.  “Dane’s work takes viewers inside mining operations like they’ve only seen in historic photographs, but these workers are still heading underground today.”

This year marks the first year NMIH has participated in Anthracite Mining Heritage Month, an annual observance that began in 1999 with the 40th anniversary of one of the northeast region’s largest infamous mining disasters at the Knox Mine in Pennsylvania.  Starting with a program at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, the annual event now encompasses the entire month of January with programming and exhibits that span the region.  Find the entire slate of Anthracite Mining Heritage Month programs at

Admission to this presentation is free with regular museum admission.

For more information on Dane Rhys’ broader project, please visit:

About the artist
Dane Rhys is a New York-based photographer and producer originally from Fremantle, Western Australia. He documents the people and workspaces of heavy industry in America with a focus on the aging workforce, de-industrialization of America and the rapidly changing energy sector.

While completing his studies in Human Resources, Business Management he started his mining career, working as a process technician at a metallurgical processing plant in Western Australia, building, operating and maintaining pilot plants for various mines.  He subsequently worked on the commissioning, operation, and closure of large-scale mining projects in Canada, Australia, and the United States.

In 2013, he became the HR Manager for the largest new gold mine in Canada and for the next 4 ½ years he lived and worked at two remote mines in British Columbia with regular travel to NYC to develop his photographic practice. Since 2017, he has worked at the International Center of Photography (ICP) as the Teen Academy Summertime Program Coordinator, Alumni Engagement Intern, Image Archive Assistant and Lead Curator for the 2018 Alumni Exhibit. In 2018 he graduated, from the Creative Practice program at ICP and in 2019 he graduated from the Visual Journalism and Documentary program.

About the National Museum of Industrial History
A Smithsonian Institution-affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Housed in an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history.  Learn more at

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