West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

W. Va. Museums Sponsor Free Events to Celebrate Smithsonian Museum Day


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Four West Virginia Division of Culture and History museums are joining more than 1,400 others across the country on Saturday, Sept. 29, in offering free educational adventures that celebrate our rich culture and history.

Though admission is always free at the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston, the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville, the Museum in the Park in Logan and West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling, all four venues will offer special events and activities as part of the eighth annual Smithsonian Museum Day. The Smithsonian magazine’s national event encourages participating museums with admission fees to offer free admission that day as a way to celebrate culture, learning and knowledge.

Last year’s event drew more than 350,000 museum-goers to approximately 1,400 museums, and this year’s Museum Day Live! is anticipated to be even larger.

The Culture Center in Charleston will showcase special artifacts that were aboard the USS West Virginia BB-48, including a bell, and several military and ship accessories that were donated to the museum by individuals who served on the ship. A model of the ship will be on display. Adults and children of all ages can also participate in the West Virginia State Museum’s Journeys Program for 2012-2013 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. New challenges for the program are available at the front desk in the Great Hall.

At Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, visitors can walk to the top of one of the largest known conical earthen burial mounds in the world and tour the expanded interpretive garden. From noon to 4 p.m., weather permitting, visitors also can try their hand at using the atlatl, a replica spear thrower used for hunting in prehistoric times, and take in a special showing of the documentary, “West Virginia: A Film History.”

Museum Day in Logan coincides with the Rebellion in the Hills Reenactment, one of the most popular annual events at Chief Logan State Park. Participants can enjoy children’s activities, a ladies tea, a reenactment battle skirmish, historical portrayals, a Civil War-era period dance featuring 19th century music, Civil War church services, and public displays at the campsites with re-enactors. The Museum in the Park at Chief Logan is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with changing exhibits featuring artwork and historical items from the collection of the West Virginia State Museum and State Archives.

In Wheeling, where heated political discussions and constitutional conventions led to West Virginia’s eventual statehood in 1863 at what is now called West Virginia Independence Hall, visitors can take a living history guided tour of the former Wheeling Custom House led by characters portraying Wheeling citizens from the Civil War period from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Museum Day is a great way to encourage people to visit museums, which offer something for everyone and really are a gateway to discovering the world,” said Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

The four state museums will be joined by five other West Virginia museums in honoring Museum Day. They include the Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum in Grafton; Arthurdale Heritage Inc. in Arthurdale; Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston; the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington and the Pocahontas County Historical Museum in Marlinton.

To participate in Museum Day, visitors must present the free Museum Day Admission Card, which is available in the September issue of Smithsonian magazine or can be downloaded from www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday.

For more information about activities at:

The Culture Center, contact Deputy Commissioner Caryn Gresham, (304) 558-0220.

Grave Creek Mound, contact Cultural Program Coordinator Andrea Keller, (304) 843-4128.

Museum in the Park, contact Site Manager Elizabeth Williams, (304) 792-7229.

West Virginia Independence Hall, contact Site Manager Travis Henline, (304) 238-1300.

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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