Four West Virginia Division of Culture and History museums are joining more than 1,300 others across in country on Saturday, Sept. 24, 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 seventh 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.

With support from CITGO, Museum Day 2011 is poised to be the largest to date, outdoing last year’s record-breaking event. In 2010, museum goers downloaded 227,747 tickets resulting in more than 500,000 visits to more than 1,300 venues in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The Culture Center in Charleston will be very mannerly and full of fun that day as it shares tips on manners. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Museum Guest Services staff and the Archives Library staff will talk with visitors about manners that make a difference and answer such questions as why archivists use only pencils and why flash photography is not allowed inside the museum.

From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., children can create their own paper puppets using craft materials to design clothes for both boy and girl puppets.

At 12:30 p.m., Event Planning by Design will host a tea party where children ages 3 and older can learn basic table etiquette. Visitors also can pick up tips on how to preserve family photographs, documents and books, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Archives and History Library.

Museum Day in Logan coincides with the Rebellion in the Hills Civil War Reenactment, one of the most popular annual events at Chief Logan State Park. Visitors can watch re-enactors spar, hear Abraham Lincoln discuss events of the day or watch a “surgeon” use slight-of-hand and stage tricks to recreate a battlefield leg amputation.

In Wheeling, where heated political discussions and constitutional conventions led to West Virginia’s eventual statehood in 1863, visitors can request a living history tour of the former Wheeling Custom House led by Gov. Francis Pierpont of the Restored Government of Virginia during the Civil War.

At Grave Creek, visitors can walk to the top of one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds in the world and tour the expanded interpretive garden. They also will be invited to make a ring-and-pin, a game of skill that Native Americans used to play to improve their hand-eye coordination and concentration skills. Visitors can also try their hand at using a replica spear thrower to hunt, if weather permits, and take in a special showing of the documentary, “West Virginia: A Film History.”

“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 West Virginia Division of Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith.

The four state museums will be joined by five other West Virginia museums in honoring Museum Day. The others are Arthurdale Heritage, Inc. in Arthurdale, Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston, the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, the Pocahontas County Historical Museum in Marlinton and West Virginia Penitentiary Tours in Moundsville.

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

This year Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is participating in Museum Day and visitors will be encouraged to donate to this leading global breast cancer organization.

For more information about activities at:
• The Culture Center, contact Deputy Commissioner Caryn Gresham, (304) 558-0220.
• Grave Creek, contact Cultural Program Coordinator Andrea Keller, (304) 843-4128.
• West Virginia Independence Hall, contact Site Manager Travis Henline, (304) 238-1300.
• Museum in the Park, contact Site Manager Elizabeth Williams, (304) 792-7229.

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 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.


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