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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “The 35th Star: West Virginia Statehood” will be the topic of discussion at West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) in downtown Wheeling on Saturday, April 14. Joe Geiger, director of archives and history for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will deliver the presentation at 2 p.m. A reception will follow. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Geiger will discuss the sectional strife between eastern and western Virginia; the election of 1860 and Virginia’s response to Abraham Lincoln’s election; and major conventions and other events that shaped the creation of the new state of West Virginia in the middle of the Civil War. He also will address the importance of the Civil War to the statehood movement and review the reasons why many questioned the legality of West Virginia’s formation.

Visitors can see a PowerPoint presentation with images of historical documents and characters, such as West Virginia’s first governor, Arthur Boreman, and U.S. senators John Carlile and Waitman T. Willey. The images are from the Division’s online exhibit “A State of Convenience: The Creation of West Virginia.” The exhibit can be accessed at www.wvculture.org/history/statehood/statehood.html.

Geiger has worked for archives and history since 1998, serving as historian, webmaster, assistant and acting director. As director of archives and history, Geiger is responsible for preserving West Virginia’s history. For the past 15 years he also has served as an adjunct professor in the history department at Marshall University.

Geiger has published numerous scholarly articles and a book, Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia, 1861-1865. His new book on a Civil War campaign in Pocahontas and Randolph counties will be published this year.

For more information, contact Travis Henline, site manager at WVIH, at (304) 238-1300 or email him at [email protected].

West Virginia Independence Hall, originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market streets in Wheeling.

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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