CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two week-long camps for children and four archives lectures at the Culture Center in Charleston; children’s activities, a West Virginia Day Celebration and a National Geographic film at Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville; and a West Virginia Day Celebration at West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling are among the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s lineup of special events in June. All of the programs are free and open to the public.
Culture Center, Charleston
The Culture Center, located at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, will present two summer camps for children and four archives lectures. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“Wayne County: Slavery and the Civil War” lecture: At 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, in the Archives and History Library, Robert Thompson will discuss slavery and its economic and political impact in the most western county of Virginia, Wayne. Although slavery in western Virginia was not as widespread as it was in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions, it had a presence in Wayne County. Thompson will share the story of the Pauley family children and their return to slavery in 1850 after they were kidnapped from Ohio and sold to William Ratcliff of Wayne County. Thompson’s presentation also will examine the life and career of Milton Jameson Ferguson, a local attorney with a flourishing practice, handling chancery and other property actions. When the Civil War began, he became a colonel of the Confederate 16th Virginia Cavalry. Thompson has researched Wayne County nearly all his life, and he teaches social science at Wayne High School. He has written 10 books on the history of the county including Badges & Bullets: Wayne County, WV Sheriffs 1842-1942; Fear Among the Mountains: Slavery in Wayne County; and The Life of Colonel Milton Jameson Ferguson.
“Arts Sampler Camp”: From 9 a.m. to noon, Monday, June 9, to Friday, June 13, aspiring young performers, aged 8-16, will be taught music and dance by local community instructors. Theater techniques will be coached by division staff. Friday afternoon, participants will have the opportunity to perform in a showcase in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Culture Center. Class size is limited to 45 and registration is required. To register, contact Bethany Cline, executive assistant to the commissioner, at (304) 558-0220.
“Volunteers for Forty Years: A History of the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association” lecture: At 6 p.m. Thursday, June 12, in the Archives and History Library, several speakers will discuss the formation of the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association (WVSTA) in the early 1970s. The group’s first project was the Allegheny Trail, originally envisioned as a 200-mile trail running from Peters Mountain in Monroe County to Blackwater Falls State Park in Tucker County, but now nearly 330 miles in length extending to the Mason-Dixon Line. The presentation celebrates the volunteer spirit of the makers of the Allegheny Trail and the Mary Ingles Trail from the time of the association’s incorporation in 1974 to the present day. The surviving original incorporators and more recent volunteers and cooperating agency representatives will tell stories that highlight this unique recreational trail development effort in West Virginia.
“Hippie Homesteaders: Arts, Crafts, Music and Living on the Land in West Virginia” lecture: At 6 p.m. Thursday, June 19, in the Archives and History Library, Carter Taylor Seaton will discuss the back-to-the-landers, or hippies, who started flocking to West Virginia in the 1960s to find a safe place to live on their own terms, grow their own food and avoid a war they passionately hated. A significant number of these people remain here to this day. Seaton spent two years researching and interviewing people to write her book Hippie Homesteaders: Arts, Crafts, Music and Living on the Land in West Virginia (West Virginia University Press, 2014). She will explain the movement and tell the stories of some of the artisans and musicians who came here, lived on the land, and created successful careers with their crafts. She also will talk about the community and economic support these craftspeople received from residents and state agencies. Seaton has written two other books, numerous magazine articles, essays and short stories. She was nominated for the Ladies Home Journal “Woman of the Year 1975” award.
“Historic Preservation Summer Day Camp”: From 9 a.m. to noon, Monday, June 23, to Friday, June 27, children, aged 10-12, will learn about historic preservation and come away with a greater appreciation of history and importance of preservation. They will search the capitol grounds and learn how to identify building features, participate in a mock archaeological dig and take a trip to the Craik-Patton house. Space is limited to 20 and registration is required. To register, contact John Adamik, education and planning coordinator for the Historic Preservation Office, at (304) 558-0240.
“African American Life in Charleston: A Personal Perspective” lecture: At 6 p.m. Thursday, June 26, in the Archives and History Library, Thomas Tyree will present the first of The Block Speakers Series and discuss his early years living and growing up in Charleston and the impact it had on his life. He will talk about the people whom he met and what propelled him to a successful career. Tyree is the founder and president of North Carolina-based TWT Distributing, Inc., a full service distributor of ethnic health and beauty products serving grocery, drug and discount retailers and mass merchandising chains. The Block Speaker Series is so named because “The Block” was the heart of Charleston’s black community, located between Washington Street East, Capitol Street, Smith Street and Sentz Court.
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, Moundsville
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, located at 801 Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville, will present children’s activities, a West Virginia Day Celebration and a film produced by National Geographic. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“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.
“West Virginia Day Celebration”: From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Friday, June 20, visitors are invited to commemorate West Virginia’s birthday by watching episodes of the documentary series West Virginia: A Film History, produced by the West Virginia Humanities Council, in the newly renovated auditorium at the Delf Norona Museum. Children can make a blue-and-gold West Virginia necklace.
“Secret Weapon of the Confederacy” film: At 7 p.m. Thursday, June 26, Grave Creek Mound will present the documentary film “Secret Weapon of the Confederacy.” The H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship. Known as the Confederacy’s secret weapon, the submarine and its crew disappeared after its first successful mission. Divers, archaeologists, and historians worked together to recover the wrecked vessel and solve the mystery of its demise. The National Geographic production is 90 minutes long.
West Virginia Independence Hall, Wheeling
West Virginia Independence Hall, located at 1528 Market Street in Wheeling, will present its annual West Virginia Day Celebration. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“West Virginia Day Celebration”: The annual celebration will feature Civil War re-enactors on site giving demonstrations, and tours of the building with historic characters throughout the day. At noon, there will be a commemoration ceremony in the historic courtroom, followed by birthday cake and refreshments at 12:30 p.m. Beginning at 1 p.m., the Heritage Dance Association will present dances of the Civil War period and chances for audience participation.
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 Independence Hall events, contact Travis Henline, site manager, 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 www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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