West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex Celebrates Historic Preservation and Gardening in May

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville observes May as Historic Preservation Month. Historic Preservation will be celebrated with a film about the State Capitol, a lecture on the Archaeological Conservancy’s preservation efforts, and a craft making suncatchers with a stained-glass window effect. May also features the beginning of The Complex’s Interpretive Garden planting with the first of two garden planting days, along with a special flower craft to celebrate Mother’s Day. All programs are free and open to the public.

The Second Saturday Film, titled “A Moving Monument: The West Virginia State Capitol,” will be screened Saturday, May 13, at 1 and 3 p.m. Did you know that West Virginia’s State Capitol was not always located in Charleston? First located in Wheeling, it moved to Charleston, back to Wheeling and again to Charleston. The Capitol’s history also includes a disastrous fire, a “Pasteboard Capitol,” and the current Capitol designed by architect Cass Gilbert. The 1-hour film was produced by Motion Masters in 2008 and is shown courtesy of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

May is also the month to celebrate and honor all mothers. Families are invited to stop in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, to make colorful tissue flowers just in time for Mother’s Day. Surprise mom with a special handmade gift. 

For the gardening season, visitors can help plant the museum’s Interpretive Garden on Saturday, May 20, from noon to 4 p.m. Garden Planting Day includes indoor activities in case of inclement weather. A second planting day is planned for the same time on Saturday, June 3. The garden will be planted using heirloom seeds, including Buffalo Creek and Canada crookneck squashes, Blue Shackamaxon, Arikara Yellow and Genuine Cornfield beans, eight-row Rhode Island flint corn and Seneca sunflowers. Replica stone garden hoes will be available to try out and there will be a small seed library for visitors who would like to grow some crops at home. The activities will be guided by museum staff and volunteers as well as members of the Ohio County Master Gardeners.

The celebration of Historic Preservation Month will continue at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, Kelley Berliner, eastern regional director of The Archaeological Conservancy, will discuss “The Archaeological Conservancy’s Preservation Efforts in the East: from the Paleoindian through 20th-Century Industrial Sites.” For the past 42 years, the Conservancy has been the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to the permanent preservation of archaeological sites across the country. Its diverse sites range from the Thunderbird site, with remains of one of the earliest Paleoindian structures discovered in the U.S., to the Pamplin Pipe Factory, a manufacturing facility that grew from an early cottage industry of making pipes from local clays. Berliner will highlight some of the important sites protected by the Conservancy, including some in West Virginia, and the Conservancy’s efforts to preserve them. Berliner holds a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in historical archaeology from the College of William and Mary. Her interests include public archaeology, community engagement, preservation and archaeology of the northeastern United States and Canada.

Families looking for an activity for the kids can observe Historic Preservation Month by making “Wonderful Windows” using special scratch-art paper to create a stained-glass effect. A nearby bulletin board will display photos of windows and challenge visitors to identify the local building they belong to. The buildings are all within walking distance of the museum for those interested in seeing them. The craft will be available at the Museum’s Discovery Table during regular museum hours throughout the month.

Operated by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex features one of the largest conical burial mounds built by the Adena people between 250 – 150 B.C. and ranks as one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds anywhere in the world. Exhibits and displays in the Delf Norona Museum interpret what is known about the lives of these prehistoric people and the construction of the mound. The complex also houses the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility.

Admission to Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex is free. The Delf Norona Museum, located at 801 Jefferson Avenue, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Access to the Mound and other outdoor areas closes at 4:30 pm.

For more information about activities and programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or andrea.k.keller@wv.gov or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound,  www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound, and www.instagram.com/gravecreekmound.

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