CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two archives lectures, the A. James Manchin Memorial Marble Tournament, the State Dance Festival, an exhibit opening and the fifth annual State History Bowl Championship in Charleston; along with children’s activities, an archaeology lecture and the Marshall County Student Art Show at Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville; a talk on American Indians in the Civil War at Independence Hall in Wheeling; and the annual wildflower hike at Museum in the Park at Chief Logan State Park in Logan; are among the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s lineup of special events in April. All of the programs are free and open to the public.


Culture Center, Charleston

“The Life and Times of Collis P. Huntington” lecture: At 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in the Archives and History Library, James E. Casto will discuss railroad mogul Huntington, one of the robber barons of his era. Huntington and his partners Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker, known to railroad historians as the “Big Four,” built the Central Pacific, Southern Pacific and the western half of the Transcontinental Railroad. In 1869, Huntington purchased the nearly bankrupt Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and pushed its tracks over the mountains from Richmond to the Ohio River, where he established the city of Huntington. Casto was a reporter, editor and columnist at The Herald-Dispatch for more than 40 years before retiring in 2004.

West Virginia Juried Exhibition 2013 Award Winners exhibit opening: At 6 p.m. Monday, April 14, the division will open an exhibition featuring 18 works by 14 West Virginia artists whose work won awards in the 2013 Juried Exhibition. Tiera Floyd of Sutton, who received a Governor’s Award and Award of Excellence for her paintings in the show, will speak during the opening reception.

“Monsters and Mayhem in the Mountain State” lecture: At 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in the Archives and History Library, Michael Knost, editor and novelist who has been recognized by the Bram Stoker Awards and Black Quill Awards, will talk about Mountain State ghosts, legends and the people who passed these stories around. Visitors will hear about the origins of the dreaded, red-eyed Mothman, a winged creature first seen in late 1966 in Mason County.

“A James Manchin Memorial Marble Tournament”: The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will host the sixth annual sanctioned Marble Tournament sponsored by the West Virginia Marble Shooters Association on Saturday, April 19. The tournament is open to children from 7 to 14 years of age and all skill levels. Interested participants can come to the Culture Center at 9 a.m. and learn to shoot marbles. The registration deadline is 1 p.m. and the tournament begins at 1:30 p.m. Marbles will be provided. The winning boy and girl champions will be eligible to go to the 91st annual National Marble Tournament in Wildwood, N.J., to compete for national honors, college scholarships, prizes and awards.

“West Virginia State Dance Festival” concert performances: At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, two nights of performances will showcase the talent of West Virginia high school and college dancers  in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Culture Center. The evening performances are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis; seating is limited. The Dance Festival brings more than 400 students who come to perform and take classes from a nationally-acclaimed festival faculty. This year marks the 32nd festival.

Fifth Annual State History Bowl Championship: On Tuesday, April 29, the division will hold its fifth annual State History Bowl Championship at the Culture Center. Eighth-grade students from across the state will vie for the championship title. Activities begin with a general assembly at 9 a.m., followed by the first round of competition at 9:30 a.m. The double-elimination tournament includes lightning rounds and team rounds featuring questions about state and county history, culture, heritage, geography and government prepared by the staff of the division’s Archives and History section.

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, Moundsville

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will present two children’s activities, the Marshall County Student Art Show and an archaeology lecture. Grave Creek Mound is located at 801 Jefferson Ave. in Moundsville. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Postcard Art: Children are invited to create postcards to commemorate their visit to the mound through April 19. The postcards are made on special art board, which has a black coating that, when scratched, reveals multiple colors underneath. The opposite side of the card has room for an address and message, so the cards can be mailed to family and friends.

Plant a Sunflower: Children of all ages are invited to plant sunflower seeds in containers to take home and watch them grow from April 22 through July 12. The seeds are an heirloom variety known as Arikara sunflowers, from the Arikara people of the Great Plains region, and were harvested last fall from the museum’s Interpretive Garden.

“Willow Island’s W.I.L.D. Ride: Archaeological Investigation of a Deeply Buried Late Archaic Component in West Virginia along the Banks of the Ohio River” lecture: At 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, Matthew P. Purtill will discuss how recent excavations at this site located near Parkersburg uncovered deeply buried evidence of human activity. Occupied 3800 to 3300 years ago, the site reveals important information regarding West Virginia’s prehistory, including the earliest dated pottery in the state. Purtill is a Ph.D. candidate in geography at West Virginia University.

31st Annual Marshall County Student Art Show: The exhibit, featuring artwork by middle- and high school students, will remain on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until April 16. The show is produced by students from the Cameron High School Art Club and is coordinated by Vickie Jenree, art teacher and club advisor.

Museum in the Park at Chief Logan State Park, Logan

31st Annual Sue Browning Wildflower Hike: On Saturday, April 26, Museum in the Park, Chief Logan State Park and the Hemlock Hills Garden Club will jointly sponsor a wildflower experience unique to Chief Logan State Park with wildflower experts and enthusiasts leading groups along selected trails. Registration and a continental breakfast will be served at Museum in the Park at 9 a.m. The hikes, for ages four and up, will begin between 9:30 and 10 a.m.

Museum in the Park is located in Chief Logan State Park, four miles north of Logan on State Route 10. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

West Virginia Independence Hall, Wheeling

“American Indians in the Civil War” lecture: At 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26, Travis Henline, site manager at West Virginia Independence Hall in downtown Wheeling, will discuss the involvement and contributions made by American Indians during the American Civil War. Henline is an adjunct instructor in Native American Studies at West Virginia University. He previously served as the coordinator of American Indian Initiative for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia.

Independence Hall is located at 1528 Market Street. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information about Culture Center events, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner of the division, at (304) 558-0220. For information about Grave Creek Mound events, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator at the mound, at (304) 843-4128. For more information about Museum in the Park, contact Elizabeth Williams, site manager, at (304) 792-7229. For more information about Independence Hall, contact Henline at (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 The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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