The National Mining Museum Scotland has a range of different Loan Boxes available for community groups, care homes, and schools/educational groups to borrow for free!

The Memories in Your Hands loan boxes were all developed to support reminiscence work in day and residential care settings throughout Scotland. Many care professionals were consulted during the development of the resources and since 2011 we have received great feedback from all our users.

Why not take a memory trip down memory lane or find out more about living and working conditions from years gone by? All our loan boxes contain original objects, photographs, clothing and other memorabilia to share, stimulate discussion, and engage groups with Scotland’s vast mining heritage.

All our resources are free for groups to borrow for a maximum of 4 weeks, subject to availability.

Memories in Your Hands

These boxes have been specifically designed for reminiscence purposes. All boxes come with a trolley, a plaid rug for displaying purposes and a handling cushion to help users hold and touch objects comfortably and safely. This project was funded by the Museums Association’ Effective Collections grant scheme. Themes:

Home Sweet Home




Time Out – Leisure

The Bevin Boys and WW11

Loan boxes

In addition to the Memories In Your Hands boxes, the below are suitable for schools, youth and community groups:

General Mining

The Victorians

Home Sweet Home

Additional costumes, both miners boiler suits and Victorian costumes, are available on request.

How to borrow a box?

All loan boxes must be booked in advance via our Education team by emailing them at

All loan boxes are FREE to borrow however, must be collected and returned by the borrower from National Mining Museum Scotland’s Main Office in Newtongrange, Midlothian. All loans are subject to availability.

Recent Loan Box Uses

In December 2023, S3 pupils from Lochgelly High School in Fife borrowed the general mining loan box for their project and exhibition displaying the history of mining in their local area.

Teacher feedback:

“It was great to be able to learn using real things from history. The students loved getting to hold a Davy Lamp after learning all about mining technology. It allowed them to get a real feel for what it was like to be a coal miner and how hard and dangerous it must have been.”