CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The 38th annual Vandalia Gathering, two archives lectures, a quilt and wall hanging exhibit, a quilt workshop and a natural resources exhibit in Charleston; and children’s activities, an archaeology lecture and “Planting the  Interpretive Garden” at Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville are among the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s lineup of special events in May. All of the programs are free and open to the public.

Culture Center, Charleston

“Civil War Ceredo: A Northern Experiment” lecture: At 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, in the Archives and History Library, Kenneth Bailey will discuss Ceredo as seen by Charles B. Webb, one of the early settlers, a newspaper publisher and eventually a Civil War soldier, who wrote of his experiences before, during and after his living in the community. The town was established in the late 1850s and was part of New Englander Eli Thayer’s project to end slavery by demonstrating that free labor was more efficient and profitable than slave labor. Thayer had high hopes that the project would succeed in eliminating slavery and avoiding war. Bailey is the author of four books and several articles on West Virginia history. After serving in a number of faculty and administrative positions, he retired as dean of the College of Business, Humanities and Sciences at WVU Tech.

“Quilt Workshop”: From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 9, National Quilting Association certified judge Marcel Miller will conduct a two-part workshop for quilt enthusiasts. “Quilt It” will provide practical advice for selecting the perfect quilting design for a quilt every time, from choosing a design, selecting thread colors, batting and backing from 10 a.m. to noon. “From the Judges Perspective” will explore the judging process from beginning to end, including the benefits of having a quilt entry judged, categories in an exhibit, quilt design, worksmanship and competition awards.  The workshop is suitable for beginning and intermediate quilters. Class size is limited and registration is required. There is a $20 fee per person. To register, visit our website at or contact Holli Vanater, state museum operations manager for the division, at (304) 558-0220.

“Loyalty They Always Had: The 7th West Virginia Cavalry in the Civil War” lecture: At 6 p.m. Thursday, May 15, in the Archives and History Library, Steve Cunningham will discuss the cavalry which served in numerous battles, campaigns and raids including the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862, Cross Keys, 2nd Bull Run, White Sulphur Springs, Droop Mountain, the Salem Raid, Cloyds Mountain and the Lynchburg Campaign. After the war, the cavalry helped facilitate the parole of more than 5,000 returning Confederate soldiers to the Kanawha Valley. Cunningham created and maintains the website “West Virginia in the Civil War,” which receives 75,000 visitors each year; is president and owner of 35th Star Publishing, which specializes in nonfiction titles on West Virginia history and culture; and has written a book about the 7th cavalry, Loyalty They Always Had: The 7th West Virginia Cavalry in the U.S. Civil War.

“West Virginia’s Natural Resources Exhibit”: The West Virginia State Museum will open the exhibition “West Virginia’s Natural Resources” in the Theater Gallery on May 21. The exhibit will focus on the many industries, products, resources and recreational opportunities that make the Mountain State a leader throughout the world as well as a destination for companies, workers and thrill seekers. The exhibit is broken down into sections and includes oil and gas, coal, chemical, iron and steel, glass, wood, pottery, hunting, fishing, scouting, state parks and outdoor recreation. The exhibit will remain on display through November 11.

Quilt and Wall Hanging Juried Exhibit”: The Quilt and Wall Hanging Exhibit will grace the marble walls in the Great Hall of the Culture Center from May 23 through Sept. 8. The annual juried exhibit showcases the artistry and skills of West Virginia quiltmakers and presents first, second and third- place awards in four categories: Pieced, Appliqued, Mixed/Other and Wall Hangings, as well as Best of Show and Purchase Awards.

“38th Annual Vandalia Gathering”: On Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, the Culture Center and State Capitol grounds will set the stage for the 38th Vandalia Gathering – the state’s annual celebration of the traditional arts, music, dance, stories, crafts and food of West Virginia. The festival pays tribute to West Virginia’s mountain culture and ethnic heritage by showcasing a variety of performers and craftspeople. Come hear and tell your own best tall tale in the Liars Contest, participate in the pound cake and cupcake, old-time fiddle, banjo, bluegrass banjo, mandolin, lap dulcimer and flatpick guitar contests. Concerts take place Friday and Saturday, featuring some of West Virginia’s best performers.

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, Moundsville

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will present children’s activities, “Planting the Interpretive Garden” 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.

“Plant a Sunflower”: Children of all ages are invited to plant sunflower seeds in containers to take home and watch them grow from now 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.

“Planting the Interpretive Garden”: From noon to 4 p.m., on Saturday, May 17, visitors are invited to plant the Delf Norona Museum’s Interpretive Garden using replicas of prehistoric gardening tools and heirloom seeds. There also will be garden-related displays and activities for the whole family, including a floor-sized sunflower puzzle, seed identification cards, and seeds from last year’s garden to take home. The program is presented with assistance from the Marshall County Master Gardeners, the West Virginia University Extension Office and the John Marshall High School Horticulture class. In case of inclement weather, the planting will take place May 31.

“Recent Investigations at two Earthwork Sites in Southwest Pennsylvania by California University of Pennsylvania” lecture: John P. Nass Jr., professor of anthropology at California University of Pennsylvania, will discuss what he and his field school team discovered when they studied two earthwork sites: the Father Angel Site in Washington County which was investigated in collaboration with West Virginia University and the Early Woodland Pitt Gas Mound in Greene County. The lecture will be at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 29.

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.

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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