West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

West Virginia State Museum to Unveil Sesquicentennial Exhibit on Jan. 31, 2013


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia State Museum will commemorate the state’s 150th birthday with a special sesquicentennial exhibit that opens Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, at the Culture Center in Charleston. The public is invited to view the exhibit during an opening reception at 6 p.m. that day.

“West Virginia 150” focuses on 150 people, places and events that helped to shape the lives of West Virginians over the past 150 years. It also features West Virginia’s national and international accomplishments and achievements as they have unfolded since the state’s birth on June 20, 1863.

The exhibit’s artifacts tell stories about the state’s steel, coal, glass, timber and railroad industries as well as such notable West Virginians as Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, pepperoni roll inventor Guiseppe Argiro, award-winning composer George Crumb and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. The Wheeling Jamboree, Mountain Stage, Mister Bee Potato Chips, Shoney’s and the Marble King also are featured.

“West Virginia has such a rich and interesting history that it was really difficult to narrow the exhibit down to 150 items,” said Museum Director Charles Morris. The final list contains suggestions from the public as well as from archivists, historians and other employees of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Visitors to the exhibit can add their own suggestions to a book placed at the end of the exhibit. A special online exhibit featuring these recommendations will open later this year. The public also is encouraged to donate items to commemorate the state’s birthday. 

For more information, contact Morris at (304) 558-0220.

The State Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first Monday of each month.

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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