MINERS are being urged to dig up the past and remember their old days underground.
The National Mining Museum, at Overton near Grange Moor, wants workers at the former Hope Pit to tell them what life was really like on the coalface.
They want to hear from miners who worked in the years between the Second World War and the pit's closure in 1986.
Imogen Townend, curator of social and oral history, said: "The museum is dedicated to hearing what people who were involved at the time have to say.
"Oral history is something we believe works really well.
"Hearing real miners tell the story is more personal and reaches out better to people.
"We are hoping to record a direct history of the pit and what times were like when it was working."
A Lottery grant of almost £1m is to be spent on Hope.
The pit has stood in the shadows of the Caphouse Colliery for years.
But the new Lottery grant will bring the site to life with a water monitoring scheme, one of the first of its kind in Europe.
An environmentally-friendly water treatment plant which filters mine water through reed beds is also being planned.
Explanatory boards will be installed next year.
Work should be finished and ready for visitors by June 2005.
Any former miners with memories of the pit should contact the museum on 01924 848806.