“Public Documents are the materials for the historian. Without such a collection he, however much inclined, can never do justice to a State. Nor without them, can its people ever have an accurate knowledge of the founding and growth of their institutions; nor of their own development in governmental affairs, educational and other interests. Not only this, but posterity can not have the means of judging, as it might, of the deeds, and principles of action, and of the legislation of ancestors. Thus the State that neglects to preserve its Public Documents, loses much to future generations — to the whole world indeed.”

Virgil A. Lewis, West Virginia State Historian and Archivist, 1908

Guides to Collections

Staff Research Guides:


The Archives Library is located in the Culture Center at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston (GPS coordinates: 38° 20’15″N 81° 36’50″W). To visit, take Exit 99 (State Capitol/Greenbrier St.) of Interstate 64/77.

Visitors to the Culture Center have these parking options.

  • Metered visitor parking is available in the Greenbrier Street parking lot (to your left as you enter the Capitol Complex from Greenbrier Street). Parking is $.25 per hour (bring quarters!), with a maximum of four hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. After 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends and state holidays, there is no charge for parking at these spaces.
  • Also in the Greenbrier Street lot are a limited number of metered handicapped spaces available in the bus loop adjacent to the Culture Center (to the right from the Greenbrier Street entrance). Vehicles must have proper handicapped parking signage visible.
  • Beside Laidley Field, about two blocks from the Capitol Complex, there is an additional public parking area. A Capitol shuttle is available on weekdays from 6:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. The shuttle is free and may be used by employees and Capitol visitors. It runs every 15 – 20 minutes. (Shuttle information is subject to change. Visitors should consider calling the Parking Section at (304) 558-3062 or the Piedmont Guard House at (304) 558-0248 before visiting to confirm the shuttle schedule.)
  • Visitors may be dropped off and picked up in the bus loop.

Last Updated August 2021

Comments and suggestions about this web site may be addressed to Mary Johnson at the West Virginia State Archives. The Archives will not answer e-mail research requests. All research requests must be submitted in writing to the Archives and History Library; The Culture Center; 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, E.; Charleston, WV 25305-0300. Research requests from outside West Virginia must be accompanied by a $20 research fee; a $10 research fee must accompany in-state requests (checks made payable to Department of Arts, Culture and History). Please read the Archives’ listing of services available for more details on research correspondence, and read this important information regarding checks received for payments.

“A tremendous lot of valuable data was stored away in this department [Archives & History] but on account of it not being properly indexed, it only represented so much ‘junk.’ . . . Considering the small force and limited funds that have been available for this work in our state, admirable progress has been achieved, but liberal provisions must be made for the work if it is to be carried forward on a scale in any way commensurate with our needs.”

Second Biennial Message of Governor Hatfield to the Legislature of 1917