MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will present a month of family-oriented programs in August, including its featured artist of the month exhibit and reception, a new display in the observation window in the archaeology lab, a Public Broadcasting and NOVA documentary film and two recently installed exhibits. All activities are free and open to the public.
At 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, visitors are invited to the opening reception for the ongoing featured artist of the month series, Leah M. Reynolds Photography Exhibit. Reynolds is a photographer who specializes in landscapes and nature images, and the display includes quotations and short poems. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, patrons can create their own landscape art after gaining inspiration from Reynolds’ work. An assortment of paper, fabric and found materials will be available for making landscape collages. The exhibit will remain on display through Aug. 27.
The observation window in the Archaeology Lab will have a new display created by Chris Kranske, a graduate student in West Virginia University’s Public History program. It features artifacts and photographs of the Willow Island Mound site which was excavated on the Ohio River in Pleasants County in 1976.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, at 1 and 3 p.m., visitors can see Arctic Ghost Ship (Public Broadcasting Service and NOVA production, 60 min.) The film is an exclusive breakthrough in the greatest unsolved mystery in Arctic exploration. In 1845, British explorer Sir John Franklin set off to chart the elusive Northwest Passage, commanding 128 men in two Royal Navy ships, the Erebus and Terror. They were never heard from again. Searchers found clues: a hastily written note left on an island, exhumed bodies suggesting lead poisoning, discarded human bones with marks of cannibalism and Inuit legends of ghost ships. But no trace of the ships was ever found. In 2014, an official Parks Canada expedition located the Erebus, intact and on the sea floor. This documentary tells the inside story of this risky Canadian expedition and reveals clues that may help unravel what happened more than 160 years ago.
Grave Creek also offers two newly installed permanent exhibits. Prehistoric West Virginia features casts of some of the large Ice Age animals that once roamed in West Virginia, including skulls of the saber-tooth cat and dire wolf, perhaps two of the most famous prehistoric carnivores in North America. There are casts of the short-faced bear, giant ground sloth and an eight-foot tall fossilized mammoth leg. The exhibit also showcases a Dimetrodon, a mammal-like reptile that predated the first dinosaurs by several million years. Fans of the television series Game of Thrones will recognize the dire wolf, which serves as a pet and protector to many of the characters on the show. From Aug. 2 – Sept. 10, patrons can transform a brown paper bag into a mammoth puppet at the museum’s Discovery Table.
The Buried Past: Artifacts from West Virginia’s Wild, Wonderful History is the newest exhibit at the Archaeological Complex. It showcases West Virginia archaeological sites and represents a wide range of people, places, and time. Prehistoric Native Americans are represented in the Saint Albans, Fairchance, Saddle, Mount Carbon, and Buffalo exhibit cases. Early settlers are represented by two frontier fort sites (Warwick’s Fort and Arbuckle’s Fort), and a frontier cabin excavated at the Hevener Site, while excavations on Blennerhassett Island focus on the time when the Blennerhassett family lived there in their mansion. The Civil War is represented by Camp Allegheny, and a look at the Victorian Era is provided through excavations at the United States Federal Building and Courthouse in Wheeling.
For more information about activities and programs at Grave Creek mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound.
Operated by the West Virginia Division of 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 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Outdoor access closes at 4:30 p.m., and may be closed all day during inclement weather.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.