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The Green Zone

The Green Zone is a new space developed by the National Mining Museum Scotland (NMMS) which has included a range of upgrades including interpretation and engagement activity focused on climate agenda.  Mhairi Cross, CEO of NMMS explains how the project has enabled them to play a more significant part in the climate change debate and support climate education.

A child with light skin and long braided brown hair sits on a yellow tandem bike. The bike is attached to the floor and an interactive panel which reads "Making Electricity".


The project ties into the values of the National Mining Museum Scotland, providing a platform for debate on climate action and climate education. It builds on the success of the Climate Beacon project, which ran at the museum throughout 2021/22. This was a collaboration between the NMMS and British Geological Survey (BGS), and created a transformative journey following the carbon cycle, from Scotland’s past legacy of fossil fuels towards a future of decarbonisation.

The Green Zone ultimately is a new space in the museum linking three spaces – the Energy Lab that tells the story of wave energy through large interactives, the play area that explores biodiversity and the Interactive Hub that explores the principles of engineering through interactive stations. In addition to these spaces is a new Activity Room that can be used for educational activities or as a community space.

The project has a holistic approach as it feeds into our wider museum offer, the collections, visitor access, green agenda, community engagement and education and learning. It is aimed at families but also utilised by school groups, as it is a great link for those studying energy or learning for sustainability, and those looking at mining history in their area


  • The project has been a great success as it offers a new experience to our visitors, focusing on families and young people and giving them the space to learn through play and interactive participation.
  • The schools who have used the Green Zone have commented on the usefulness of the interactives, and how these can be used to further learning in line with the curriculum. The new Activity Room has been used as a classroom for NMMS educational activities, by local community groups and as a meeting space for staff. As the community become more aware of the space there is potential for this room to be used by the community, which we would gladly support.
  • The project worked very well, and we were delighted with the upgrading of some of our interactives and the new ones that were installed.
  • We recognise that there is potential to add more interactives and displays as we progress with Scotland’s energy journey as well as to make further adaptions to the building itself to further reduce our carbon footprint such as insulated roofing, depending on planning permission.

“The Green Zone is fantastic and fun – it provides a great learning environment, and the interactives are a high quality and are relevant to the curriculum”.

Local primary school teacher


  • The planning permission for the project was more complicated than first thought and required more time than originally planned.
  • The cost-of-living crisis had an impact on the costs as due to the timescales and the delayed planning permission there were changes to the original quotes.


Some of the improvements to the museum are:

  • Recognition that we are playing a significant part in the climate change debate and supporting climate education through new resources.
  • A slight increase in visitors (so far!).
  • An increase in our venue hire bookings and café sales.


  • Start conversations with the planning department as soon as the project plan is in place.
  • Get an overview of all the elements and costs required for this process as you can get caught out with hidden costs for a survey that you were not anticipating.
Download case study
The Green Zone: National Mining Museum Scotland
(PDF, 327 KB)