CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two archives lectures and an art exhibition opening at the Culture Center in Charleston; and an “Atlatl Throw” and an archaeology lecture at Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville; are among the  West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s lineup of special events in September.

Culture Center, Charleston

The Culture Center, located at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, will present two archives lectures and an art opening. The building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The following programs at the Culture Center are free and open to the public.

“Incidents of Morgan’s Raid with an Account of Stovepipe Johnson’s Retreat through West Virginia” lecture: At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2, in the Archives and History Library, Brian Stuart Kesterson will discuss the ill-fated 1863 raid of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan and Colonel Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson’s retreat through West Virginia. Kesterson traveled over the roads and lanes that Johnson and his 300 retreating Confederate cavalrymen traveled. The remoteness of the retreat route, which often is little more than a wagon path, has helped in the preservation of the trail. Kesterson says that about 90% of the original retreat route still exists, “which is amazing to think about since Johnson and his men traveled through eight counties in West Virginia and two in Virginia.”

Kesterson, a native of Wood County, is a history teacher at Parkersburg High School. He is a member of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, a group that has provided living history and boot camp programs for school children since 1990, and serves as chief musician/bugler for the general staff of the United States Volunteer Infantry. He has appeared in movies and documentaries about the Civil War and is the author of The Last Survivor: The Memoirs of George William Watson, A Horse Soldier in the 12th Virginia Cavalry (Night Hawk Press, 1993), among others.

“Family Heritage Music” lecture: At 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, in the Archives and History Library, Bobby Taylor will present a program that combines historical information and musical performance about heritage music. He will have several family instruments and photographs on display.

Taylor plays several styles of old-time and contest fiddling and got his early start from the legendary Clark Kessinger. In his presentation, he will share Kessinger’s informal lessons and stories of family fiddlers including his late father Lincoln, and Hasseltine Taylor Humpheys. Kim Johnson will accompany Taylor on banjo, as will several other musicians.

Taylor is a performer and advocate of West Virginia fiddling. He was the 1997 West Virginia State Open Fiddle Champion and, in 2003, received the Footbridge Award from FOOTMAD (Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance) for his contributions to old-time music. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Division of Culture and History’s Vandalia Award, West Virginia’s highest folklife honor.

“West Virginia Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest and Exhibition” opening: The art exhibition will open at 2 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 16, in the Balcony Gallery of the Culture Center. The exhibit features original artwork created by people with disabilities. The show will remain on display through the month of October in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Expect. Employ. Empower.”

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, Moundsville

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, located at 801 Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville, will present an “Atlatl Throw” for the entire family and an archaeology lecture. 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.

“Atlatl Throw”: From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, Grave Creek Mound invites the public to come throw an atlatl, a hunting tool that was used for many thousands of years before the invention of the bow and arrow. An atlatl consisted of a handle with a hook or notch at one end and was used to propel a spear. The atlatl provided more force than throwing by hand, enabling the hunter to throw farther and with greater impact.

“The Early Woodland Period of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the West Virginia Panhandle: Is Big Really Better?” lecture: At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, Mark A. McConaughy, will discuss large burial mounds that were constructed during the middle of the Early Woodland period (450 B.C. to A.D. 100), a period when pottery and the use of domesticated plants was first introduced. A person with a higher status in the community would perhaps have a better burial or a larger burial mound. McConaughy will look at several status indicators to see if there is a correlation between the size of the mound and the status of the individual, or, as in the case at Grave Creek Mound, several individuals are buried in a large mound.

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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