CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Culture Center in Charleston with a special exhibit and activities on Saturday, July 16. Since 1976, The Culture Center has been the premier welcome center for our state, housing the West Virginia State Museum, West Virginia Archives and the West Virginia Library Commission. The building will open at 9 a.m., and all events are free and open to the public.
Festivities will begin in the Archives and History Library. Archives and History Director Joe Geiger and Education Coordinator Matt McGrew will lead guided tours at 11 a.m. and 1p.m. for those interested in learning more about the records stored in the state archives.
From 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., the Museum Education Center will be open for families to explore new educational opportunities and programs available in the State Museum.
WVDCH Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith and Education and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Kay Goodwin will sit down together in the West Virginia State Theater at 10:45 a.m. to chat about the history of the Culture Center and how it has fostered many great programs, events and exhibits that pay tribute to the Mountain State’s culture and heritage.
At 11:30 a.m. in the theater, keynote speaker Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whose father, former Gov. Arch Moore, was instrumental in the development and construction of the Culture Center, will speak about her time spent in the Culture Center and what it meant to her and her family 40 years ago and now.
Following the presentations, anniversary cupcakes will be served in the Great Hall at noon. At 12:30 p.m., a new photography exhibit will open in the North Wing of the Great Hall titled “West Virginia Photographers: Capturing the Mountain State.” In accordance with the 40th anniversary, the exhibit will feature 40 of the best photographers in the Mountain State.
A photography panel will take place at 1 p.m. in the theater. Three local photographers will sit down and discuss their areas of specialty and take questions from audience members. The panel includes Bruce Burgin, a Raleigh County native who will talk about fine art black and white darkroom photography; Josh Hanna, a Putnam County native, will discuss digital imaging and the art of composites; and Charleston Gazette-Mail photographer Tom Hindman will wrap up the panel with a talk on the art of photojournalism.
“The Culture Center has been a special place to celebrate our state’s heritage, culture and history for the past 40 years,” said Commissioner Reid-Smith. “From annual events such as the Vandalia Gathering and the West Virginia History Bowl to our beautiful exhibits, I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of this special place for the past 10 years.”
For more information on the Culture Center’s 40th anniversary programs, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner, at 304-558-0220 or Caryn.S.Gresham@wv.gov.
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.