CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three archives lectures at the Culture Center in Charleston; children’s activities and a tour and program about the Interpretive Garden at Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville; and the 25th Anniversary Appalachian String Band Music Festival at Camp Washington-Carver in Clifftop, Fayette County are among the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s lineup of special events in July.
Culture Center, Charleston
The Culture Center, located at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, will present three archives lectures. The building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The museum is closed on Mondays. The following programs at the Culture Center are free and open to the public.
“Time’s Runnin’ Out: A Historical Perspective of the Movie and the Fight Against Southern West Virginia Forest Fires” lecture: At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, in the Archives and History Library, Robert Beanblossom and Richard Fauss will present the 19-minute documentary Time’s Runnin’ Out, filmed by Wheeling filmmaker Ellis Dungan in 1969 for the Cooperative Extension Service of the West Virginia Center for Appalachian Studies and Development and the Division of Forestry for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Scholars and educators with the cooperative extension service thought that a potent film might help to lower the number of forest fires in southern West Virginia. Beanblossom has shown the movie to youth groups, service clubs and civic organizations as part of the program to bring attention to the harm that forest fires can do to the land and the ecosystem. Beanblossom and Fauss will discuss the making of the film and its impact. Employed by the Division of Natural Resources since 1973, Beanblossom is a member of the West Virginia Recreation and Parks Association and a life member of the West Virginia University Forestry Alumni Association. He routinely accepts Incident Management Team assignments and is deployed as a public information officer to critical wildfire situations and other emergencies throughout the United States. Fauss is the audio and moving images archivist with Archives and History. He is a longtime member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, who honored him in 2002 with its Dan and Kathy Leab Award for service to the archival community.
“The Riverine World” lecture: At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, in the Archives and History Library, Gerald Sutphin will examine the impact that river life had on people living and working on the western rivers during the age of steamboats. His presentation will cover vessels from steam ferries to showboats and the people who worked on them. Sutphin is recognized as one of the country’s foremost inland rivers and river transportation historians. Since working 20 years for the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he has been the owner/operator of a visual communication arts company and specializes in research, development and presentation of inland rivers projects such as museum exhibits, publications and motion picture production. One of his many credits includes The Great Kanawha, An American Story, on which he served as researcher, writer and featured historian on film.
“African American Life in Charleston: A Personal Perspective, Part II” lecture: The second of the Block Speakers Series will continue its programming at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 24, in the Archives and History Library. Charles H. James III, a native of Charleston, will discuss his family’s history in Charleston and the Kanawha Valley from 1865 to the present. His great-grandfather started a retail produce business and later the wholesale establishment, C.H. James & Co. in Charleston in 1883. The company celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2013 and has been recognized as one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the United States. Charles H. James III has served as the chairman and CEO of C. H. James & Co. since 1988. He represents the fourth generation of his family to own and operate the business. Under his leadership, the company grew from a local food distributor in southern West Virginia to a leading international supplier to the U.S. government and multinational foodservice clients. In 1992, it was named “Company of the Year” by Black Enterprise magazine.
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, Moundsville
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, located at 801 Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville, will present children’s activities and a tour and program about its Interpretive Garden. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The following programs at the mound are free and open to the public.
“Plant a Sunflower”: Now through July 12, children of all ages are invited to plant sunflower seeds in containers to take home and watch grow. 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.
“The Grave Creek Mound Fan Club”: From July 15 through Aug. 30, beat the summer heat when you make a fan at the museum’s discovery table. The fans will feature a picture of the Grave Creek Mound that can be colored and attached to wooden fan handles.
“Interpretive Garden Program and Tour”: At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 31, visitors are invited to learn how the garden is grown with the help of many volunteers and observe its progress this year. They also can take a tour of the Interpretive Garden (weather permitting). This is the fifth year for planting the garden with heirloom seeds using historic Native American gardening techniques.
Camp Washington-Carver, Clifftop
Camp Washington-Carver is located in Clifftop, Fayette County. The camp is open for special events and private functions.
The Appalachian String Band Music Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The festival, featuring some of the best fiddlers and banjo pickers in the world, is set for July 30-Aug. 3. The five-day camping experience in the heart of West Virginia also includes music contests, dancing, arts and crafts, and games for the whole family.
The popular annual festival draws thousands of string-band musicians and fans from across the country and around the world for its concerts, dancing, workshops and contests in which musicians and dancers can win prizes of up to $700. Music contests include banjo and fiddle on Thursday, July 31, neo-traditional string band on Friday, Aug. 1, and traditional string band on Saturday, Aug. 2. The festival also presents an old-time dance contest on Saturday that emphasizes the flatfoot style, and awards three prizes ranging from $25 to $75 in four age categories. Nightly square dances are another big attraction.
There are camping rates and daily visitor rates. Early camping starts July 25 at 1 p.m. Visit our website at www.wv.culture.org for more detailed information.
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 information about the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, contact J.D. Hess, site manager, at (304) 438-3005.
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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