MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. —Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex will host a “Pirate Day” in conjunction with its “Second Saturday” film from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, 2017.  All activities are free and open to the public.

The film, “Blackbeard’s Lost Ship,” is part of the Secrets of the Dead series aired on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  The most infamous pirate of his day, Blackbeard inspired fear in all who crossed his path.  Three hundred years later, his flag ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, is being excavated by a team of marine archaeologists. His story is revealed by careful preservation and analysis of the ship’s remains, including cannons, guns, anchors and gold. The 60-minute film will be shown at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

For the younger crowd, “Pirate Day” will include crafts such as decorating a box to hold small treasures, and transforming gold-painted rocks into “pirate loot” that can be taken home or hidden for others to find. Pirate garb and the word “aargh!” are optional.

Did you know that the Ohio and Mississippi rivers were plagued by pirates as well? Find out more in a special display researched and created by Chris A. Kranske, a graduate student from the Public History Department at West Virginia University, who is working at the Complex’s Research Facility this summer. The display will focus on Samuel Mason, who served at Wheeling’s Fort Henry but later turned to a life of crime. 

Photographic treasures are on display throughout July in the museum’s “Featured Artist” exhibit. The series continues with Anita J. Luellen, an award-winning photographer from Shadyside, Ohio, whose exhibit has been extended. Her photographs capture images as varied as a morning launch at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M. to a view of a lighthouse on a foggy morning in Maine. West Virginia images include a crypt in Wheeling’s Greenwood Cemetery, the Cheat River near Elkins and Blackwater Falls State Park. 

Additionally, some of Moundsville’s architectural treasures will be highlighted at the museum’s Discovery Table.  Visitors can create a stained-glass effect sun catcher using special scratch-lite film, and are invited to identify the windows pictured on a bulletin board display. “Stained Glass Windows” will be featured during regular museum hours throughout the month of July.

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.

For more information about activities and programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or or visit and

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts with Gayle Manchin, 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 The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.