Lead has been mined at Killhope for centuries, but until the mid 19th century it was mainly obtained from surface excavations. Killhope Museum is situated on the site of Park Level Mine, which dates from 1853 and was part of the group controlled by the W B Lead Company.
The extensive surface buildings and dressing sheds have been restored and an underground trip is also available. Much of the underground experience has been reconstructed for safety reasions but it still provides an authentic experience, including an underground water wheel of 10 metre diameter.
The museum is usually open from April to October and is run by Durham County Council, who have benefitted from grants from the Lottery Fund and others.