West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville Announces Summer “Cool-Off” Programs


MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will present family-oriented “Cool-Off” programs during the summer. All activities are free and open to the public.

The Discovery Table in the Delf Norona Museum will have craft activities all summer. From Tuesday, July 5, through Saturday, July 30, families are invited to make a hand-held fan featuring one of the animals in the new Prehistoric West Virginia exhibit.  From Aug. 2 – Sept. 10, patrons can transform a brown paper bag into a mammoth puppet.

 Prehistoric West Virginia is the latest permanent display in the museum. It 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.

The museum will air two films. At 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, Scientific American Frontiers: Coming to America (Public Broadcasting Service, 60 min.) Alan Alda narrates this documentary which covers who the first Americans were, did they come by land or sea and did a single group populate the continent or was it many? Experts used to agree that the first Americans walked across the Bering land bridge from Asia about 12,000 years ago, eventually colonizing North and South America. New finds at sites on both continents have triggered new theories.

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 Mound also has introduced the “Artifact of the Week” program. Each week, the museum takes an item from the collection and posts photos of it with a description at https://www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound.

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 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. 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.



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