West Virginia Museums
West Virginia Museums
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“WV Association of Museums”
‘Preserving the Story and Soul of the Mountain State”
“The mission of the West Virginia Association of Museums is to serve, educate, advocate for, and enhance communications within the museum community. WVAM carries out this mission by listening to its members and serving their interests and by keeping the members abreast of current standards and activities on a national scale.”
“The Mountain State has many treasures that we invite you to explore. We encourage you to use this resource to visit the places and experience the activities that represent the history, arts, technology, industry, and cultural diversity that West Virginia offers through its more than 300 museums.”
“West Virginia Museums” – WV Tourism
Information on dozens of West Virginia museums, with links, addresses, phone numbers and more.
“West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center”
<<The West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center is on the “Capitol Complex” page–see the menu at the top of this page.>>
“Camp Washington-Carver” – Clifftop
“Camp Washington-Carver, located at Clifftop in Fayette County, is a beautiful retreat listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In any given year, it’s not uncommon for more than 10,000 people to attend events at the camp. The camp serves as West Virginia’s mountain cultural arts center, and each season features events designed to preserve the arts and traditions of yesterday while perpetuating those of today.
“The facility nurtures the cultural heritage embodied in the site since its dedication in 1942 as a 4-H camp for West Virginia’s Black youth. Programs like the African-American Heritage Arts Camp and the Appalachian String Band Festival, along with the camp’s Great Chestnut Lodge, the largest log structure of its kind in the world, make this site a favorite place for Mountain State festivities.
“Camp Washington-Carver programs a summer season of events from music concerts, theater, camps, and more. The facility may also be rented for family reunions, company picnics, weddings and other private activities.”
<<More information on Camp Washington-Carver is on the “African-Americans” page.>>
“An Introduction to Camp Washington-Carver” (2:20/2013/wvarchivesandhistory)
“WV Independence Hall” – Wheeling
“Nearly six years before President Lincoln signed the proclamation making West Virginia the 35th State in the Union, construction had begun on the Wheeling Custom House, headquarters for federal offices for the Western District of Virginia. Its completion, coinciding with the beginning of the Civil War, provided a facility for heated political discussions and constitutional conventions that led to eventual statehood for West Virginia in 1863. Here, issues dividing many Virginians – slavery being one of many – were debated, compromised and shaped into the skeleton of statehood. Serving as the Restored Government of Virginia (aligned with the Union) from 1861-1863, it is appropriately known today as West Virginia Independence Hall.”
“An Introduction to West Virginia Independence Hall” (3:40/2013/wvarchivesandhistory)
“Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex” – Moundsville
“The heart of the site is probably the most famous and certainly the largest of the Adena Burial mounds. A massive undertaking, the total effort required the movement of more than 60,000 tons of earth. Artifacts and exhibits interpreting the lifestyle of the Adena people are displayed in the Delf Norona Museum, adjacent to the 2,000 year old mound.”
<<More information about the Adena is on the MH3WV History page>>
“An Introduction to Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex” (3:29/2013/wvarchivesandhistory)
“Museum in the Park” – Chief Logan State Park
“Museum in the Park is a regional cultural center showcasing the best in West Virginia history and the arts. It features changing exhibits and displays of artwork and historical items from the collections of the West Virginia State Museum and the State Archives. One area of the museum is dedicated to local and regional history. It is operated and maintained by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History and is located four miles north of Logan on West Virginia Route 10 at Chief Logan State Park. . .
“An Introduction to Museum in the Park” (3:16/2013/wvarchivesandhistory)
“Youth Museum of Southern WV” – Beckley
“The Beckley Youth Museum’s main gallery is made up of four railroad boxcars. The central exhibit area features an average of three different exhibits yearly. Tours can include a visit to the Museum’s Planetarium. Behind the Museum’s main building, stands the Mountain Homestead. Developed to enrich history studies, the Museum has recreated a typical settlement on the Appalachian frontier.”
“West Virginia State CCC Museum” – Quiet Dell
“The West Virginia CCC Museum was organized and opened in June of 2002. The museum is housed in the old Quiet Dell schoolhouse in Harrison County, just off Exit 115 of Interstate 79. The schoolhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open every day during the week, as is the museum. The CCC museum shares the building with a group of juried artisans who make and sell West Virginia heritage crafts. Museum signs on the Interstate on either side of Exit 115 and at the entrance direct one to the museum.
“Museum visitors experience the story of the CCC from onset of the Corps in 1933 to the final phase-out of the program in June, 1942. We also have several items that commemorate the 50th anniversary in 1983 and CCC reunion pictures beyond that year, as well as recent achievements and milestones of local and state recognition of the CCC movement by the public and public officials.
“The museum displays represent the work and depict the accomplishments of the CCC in West Virginia and also in other states. Since there were camps in all the 48 states with similar CCC missions, there is a national overtone to the more than 230 items on display. These items range from camp photographs to tools and implements used by former CCC enrollees.”
<<Also see the MH3WV “State Parks and Forests” page for CCC projects in the WV State Parks and Forests>>
“West Virginia Historic New Deal / CCC Trail”
“President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal programs to revitalize the nation’s economy during the Great Depression. Recreation and infrastructure projects provided employment opportunities. Begun in 1933 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), commonly called the “Tree Army,” focused on reforestation and recreation projects. More than 55,000 West Virginia men were enrolled in the CCC and the state had more than 65 camps.”
<<Also see the MH3WV “State Parks and Forests” page for CCC projects in the WV State Parks and Forests>>
“WV Mine Wars Museum” – Matewan
“This is the first time that our people are in charge of our own history.”
“The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, in the heart of Historic Matewan, preserves and interprets artifacts and historical records of the local communities affected by the West Virginia Mine Wars, exploring historical events from multiple perspectives through the lives of ordinary people. We aim to be a community partner through youth education and promotion of heritage tourism. Its offerings include exhibits about coal camp life, the Paint Creek – Cabin Creek Strike of 1912-1913, the Matewan Massacre, the Miners’ March, and the Battle of Blair Mountain. Using audio, video, artifacts, maps, and historic photos, the museum simulates the journey that many mining families took as they began to organize to gain rights.”
“Matewan Minewars Museum” – WV Public Broadcasting
“The Matewan WV Mine Wars Museum’s open house and tour.” (2:56/2014/WV Public Broadcasting)
“Mine Wars Museum reopens in new building with more exhibits, room for growth”
“Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine” – Beckley
“At the Exhibition Coal Mine, one can ride through the dark passages of a vintage coal mine. The guides are veteran miners and provide firsthand accounts of the daily responsibilities and travail of past and present day miners.
“In addition to the Mine, one can tour the period coal camp buildings situated throughout the grounds. Lovingly restored, the Coal Company House, Superintendent’s Home, Pemberton Coal Camp Church, and the Helen Coal Camp School, give visitors a true representation of early 20th century coal camp life.”
“Heritage Farm Museum” – Huntington
“Celebrating Appalachian Ingenuity”
“Step back in time at Heritage Farm Village and experience Appalachian lifestyle at its finest!”
“The one-of-a-kind Heritage Farm Museum and Village of Huntington, West Virginia, boasts not only a vast collection of historical items related to Appalachian life but corporate retreat and training facilities, elegant bed-and-breakfast accommodations, wedding facilities, interactive learning areas for children, and a petting zoo. In this video, Mike Perry, co-founder of Heritage Farm Museum and Village, talks about its goals and the value of reassuring young people that ‘they come from the same line that produced the wonders we show.’ “ (3:28/2009/Heritage Farm Museum)
“Heritage Farm Museum & Village” (10:50/2011/Trifecta Productions)
“Spark! Imagination and Science Center” – Morgantown
“Explore science & the arts at Spark!”
“Our Mission: The mission of Spark! Imagination and Science Center is to inspire people of all ages to explore science and the arts through hands-on exhibits and programs that spark a lifelong love of learning.”
“Explore science and the arts through interactive exhibits at Spark! Imagination and Science Center. Children from 6 months to age 10 will love learning and playing with their grown-ups at the museum.”
“Oil and Gas Museum” – Parkersburg
“This nationally recognized museum presents the intriguing history of the oil and gas industry, including how the accumulation of wealth from oil impacted West Virginia’s statehood. Also expanded displays on the Civil War and local industries.”
“Both oil and natural gas were discovered in western Virginia by the first explorers in the mid-1700s. George Washington acquired 250 acres in what is now West Virginia because it contained an oil and gas spring. This was in 1771, making the father of our country the first petroleum industry speculator.
“A thriving commercial oil industry was in process as early as 1819 with the first major wells drilled at Petroleum, WV, outside Parkersburg, early in 1859; California, WV in the summer of 1859; and Burning Springs, WV a year later in 1860. Natural gas was moved in wooden pipes from wells to be used as a manufacturing heat source by the Kanawha salt manufacturers as early as 1831. These events truly mark the beginnings of the oil and gas industry in the United States.
“The Museum features a collection of artifacts, papers and documents from the oil and gas industry. It also has a replica of an old oilfield office.”
“Henderson Hall” – Williamstown
“Henderson Hall is a living legacy to the pioneers and patriots who walked its halls through an unbroken chain of five generations. The house, grounds and Henderson family cemetery is designated the Henderson Hall Historic District and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
“The house was built by George Washington Henderson, the grandson of Scottish immigrants. His grandfather, Alexander, who settled in Fairfax, Va., was friend, neighbor and pew mate of George Washington. Indeed, it was Washington himself, a former surveyor, who encouraged the Henderson family in the late 18th century.”
“Clan progenitor, Scottish-born Alexander Henderson Sr., arrived in Virginia in the 1700s serving in the House of Burgesses and as a member of the committee appointed to decide boundary lines that still exist today between Maryland and Virginia. Henderson counted such historic icons as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Mason and George Washington among his acquaintances. It was on advice of his friend George Washington, that Henderson bought 25,000 acres in western Virginia, and sent three of his sons to the then wilderness that was the Mid-Ohio Valley. . .”
“Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History” – Parkersburg
“Begin your journey into the past of the Blennerhassetts, as well as Parkersburg, at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History. Enjoy seeing intriguing archeological and historical exhibits of the Blennerhassetts and the area, dating back to the 1700s. Watch a brief video of the island and see the famous Stahl Collection of prehistoric Indian artifacts. An extensive gift shop with memorabilia and more is available on site. Open year-round, the museum admission is a nominal fee. Tours are self-guided.”
“Museum of Radio and Technology” – Huntington
“Interested in Antique Radios? Visit the Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington, West Virginia near the tri-state corner of West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky.
“The collection includes: Cathedral radios, console radios, table-top radios, transistor radios, old radios, antique radios, collectable radios, ham equipment, vintage amateur receivers and transmitters, broadcast collectables, military communications equipment, test equipment, vintage computers, vintage hi-fi, and an awesome vinyl record collection. There is also a technical library.”
Major Display Areas:
1920’s-30’s radio shop Vintage radios, test equipment and parts. Try the working crystal radio. No batteries or plug-in power needed. Rotary spark gap demonstrator.
Radio classroom A radio to teach schematic symbols and operating principles, test equipment displays, radio-related displays, working demonstrations.
1940’s-50’s Show Room A radio-TV sales room of the era. Lots of radios, some television sets, even wire recorders. Gilbert toy display. Hi-Fi wall.
Western Electric transmitter See a 1930’s 5000 watt AM transmitter complete with power supply components and studio equipment.
Ham & Short Wave Radios Heathkit, National, Hammarlund, Hallicrafters, Collins, and other amateur and short-wave listening radios.
Modern Ham Radio “Shack” Amateur radio station for ham and emergency use. QSL cards from 362 countries on display.
Computer Display View parts of a large 5 megabyte hard drive, an Imsai, an Osborne, a Lisa, and a number of other older computers.
Military Communication Display Variety of military radio and communication gear such as a generator set, a WW II Japanese transceiver, a “Gibson Girl” emergency radio. Also view CB radios.
WV Broadcasting Hall of Fame Find out what Don Knotts, Grandpa Jones, Bob Denver, Soupy Sales, Little Jimmy Dickens and others have in common.
Gift Shop and Library Vintage books and magazines to browse and view schematics. New books and gifts available for sale.
“Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum” – Wheeling
“Our exhibits of toys and trains are from every generation and are sure to bring a smile to your face! Our operating train layouts are interactive and can be enjoyed by everyone of any age! We offer unique local heritage items throughout the museum to showcase the part played by the Ohio Valley in the economical and transportation development of the United States!
“And then there are the toys! You’ll see thousands of toys of all types and for all ages; from dolls and dollhouses, to toy soldiers and playsets, to trains, planes, and ships, to Western toys, space toys, cartoon characters, ride-on toys, and just about anything else you can think of to bring back those treasured memories from your childhood!”
“Museum of American Glass in West Virginia” – Weston
“Imagine a museum dedicated to the region and nation’s rich glass heritage. A place where examples of thousands of products can be viewed and compared and where the stories of people and processes come to life! The MAGWV provides this and much, much more.“The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia was established in Weston, West Virginia, in 1993 as a non-profit organization with a goal to discover, publish and preserve whatever may relate to the glass industry in West Virginia, the United States of America or where ever else glass has been manufactured.”
“Take a Tour of the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia.” (1:36/2015/WDTV 5 News)
“Mothman Museum” – Point Pleasant
“IN NOVEMBER 1966, EERIE THINGS BEGAN TO OCCUR IN THE SMALL TOWN OF POINT PLEASANT. STRANGE LIGHTS IN THE SKY…MYSTERIOUS “MEN IN BLACK”…AND A FLYING RED-EYED CREATURE CALLED MOTHMAN CHANGED THIS SMALL WEST VIRGINIA TOWN….FOREVER.”
“Huntington Museum of Art” – Huntington
“Incorporated in 1947 and opened to the public in 1952, Huntington Museum of Art (formerly known as Huntington Galleries) serves the public as a museum and cultural center and, in the greater community, acts as a presence and advocate for the areas of arts, education, and nature. HMA’s mission is furthered by its four commitments: to acquire and display objects of art, provide excellence in education and arts experiences, maintain a plant conservatory and nature trails, and expand its service population.”
“WV Geological and Economic Survey’s Mini-Museum of Geology and Natural History” – Morgantown
“Although a state since 1863, West Virginia was actually millions of years in the making. The mineral wealth and natural beauty of West Virginia owe their origins to geologic processes that began eons ago. Without these geologic processes, there would be no rocks, rivers, minerals, or scenic beauty. Indeed, there would be no mountains in the Mountain State.
“Showcasing the rich and varied story of West Virginia’s geology is the mission of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey’s Museum of Geology and Natural History. Housed in the lobby of the Survey’s headquarters on Cheat Lake, near Morgantown, the museum displays rock, mineral, and fossil specimens and offers an opportunity for visitors to sample the scope of West Virginia’s vast natural heritage.
“The Museum of Geology and Natural History was established for the collection, preparation, preservation, and exhibition of rock, mineral, and fossil specimens from all ages of West Virginia’s geologic history. In addition to being a repository for all types of geologic specimens, the museum’s ongoing collections also include historic books, maps, manuscripts, and artifacts.
“The museum’s main goal is to provide West Virginians and other visitors an opportunity to examine geologic specimens and explore the geologic processes responsible for West Virginia’s outstanding scenery and great mineral wealth. The museum aims to give visitors an understanding of how its geology makes the Mountain State unique, and hopefully inspire visits to West Virginia’s scenic treasures time and time again.”
“Museums of Oglebay Institute” – Wheeling
“The Museums of Oglebay Institute serve as a celebration of culture and history and a place to explore the past through artifacts, photos and heritage programs.”
“The Mansion Museum”
“The 1846 Mansion Museum is the former home of Cleveland industrialist Earl W. Oglebay. With its impressive collection, permanent and changing exhibits, interactive educational programs and special events, the Mansion Museum enhances the appreciation and understanding of American decorative arts, fosters knowledge of Wheeling history and celebrates the legacy of the Oglebay family. It was the first accredited Museum in West Virginia and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mansion Museum Highlights:
- Explore 13 period rooms focusing on Wheeling’s earliest settlement through the opulent Edwardian era, plus the Wymer General Store and Sinclair Pharmacy collections.
- Discover impressive collections of American furniture, china, silver, glass, pewter, toys, and textiles.
- The Mansion Museum was the first museum in West Virginia to be accredited by the American Association of Museums.
- The Mansion Museum was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
“The Glass Museum”
“By the early 1900s, nearly half of America’s pressed-glass tableware was manufactured in the Wheeling-Pittsburgh corridor, and one out of every 10 Wheeling workers was employed in the glass industry. Oglebay Institute’s Glass Museum honors this legacy through a world-class collection of more than 3,500 examples of Wheeling-made glass and china. The famous Sweeney Punch Bowl, the largest piece of cut glass in the world, is a highlight of the museum. Visitors can also experience the art of glassmaking through live demonstrations and workshops in OI’s glass studio.”
Glass Museum Highlights:
- Witness the largest piece of cut lead crystal ever made- The Sweeney Punch Bowl. Standing five feet tall and weighing 225 pounds, this remarkable piece of Victorian artistry is world renowned.
- Experience over 3,000 examples of Wheeling glass made from 1829-1939 including cut lead crystal, Victorian art glass, peachblow glass, pattern and depression glass, Northwood’s carnival glass, and many other glass examples showcasing Ohio Valley history.
- Experience live glassworking demonstrations and make your own paperweight in one of our Walk-In Workshops.
“Preserving our history in partnership with Oglebay Institute.”
“For the history buff, Oglebay Institute offers educational tours of the elegant estate of Cleveland industrialist Earl W. Oglebay, who purchased the mansion and surrounding acres in 1900 to serve as a summer home. Upon his death in 1926, the millionaire willed his spectacular country estate to the City of Wheeling.”
“Beverly Heritage Center” – Beverly
‘Beverly Heritage Center combines four historic buildings in the center of Beverly, West Virginia, to tell the story of the Battle of Rich Mountain and the First Campaign of the American Civil War, the pivotal role of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, and daily life in a small rural county seat through the 19th Century.”
“Clay Center” – Charleston
“The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia opened on July 12, 2003. The Center, a 240,000 square foot structure, houses performing arts, visual arts and sciences under one roof – one of the few of its kind in the country. Located in the state’s capital city of Charleston, the facility is home to the Clay Center’s Avampato Discovery Museum, the Juliet Art Museum and the Maier Foundation Performance Hall, home of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.”
“The Clay Center’s mission is to inspire creativity, learning and wonder through experiences in the Arts and Sciences for all people of West Virginia and the region. The Clay Center remains one of the most ambitious economic, cultural and educational undertakings in West Virginia history. The Clay Center enhances the region’s “quality of life” and enriches the lives of all West Virginians.”
“Juliet Art Museum”
“The Juliet Art Museum was once located at the former Sunrise Museum that entertained visitors for decades. The Museum hosts traveling exhibits from artists and museums nation-wide, as well as exhibits that feature work from an incredible permanent collection, providing visitors with completely new experiences every few months. The Museum offers a large variety of educational programs including tours through the art galleries, and daily school workshops. With a 2018 renovation to the Juliet Art Museum galleries, new exhibits will facilitate art explorations that bring the art museum experience to all ages. New permanent exhibits in the art museum, combined with educational programming and traveling exhibits, will function like a self-guided tour into creative expression for visitors.”
“Avampato Discovery Museum”
“The Clay Center’s Avampato Discovery Museum houses two floors of hands-on discovery exhibits featuring more than 12,000 square feet of non-stop fun. Splash around in WaterWorks, learn about the science of sound in The Maier Foundation Music Studio, and get your body in motion in Healthy Me!! Check out real life exploration in My Town and climb to new heights on Ashton’s Climbing Sculpture! Like to change it up every once in a while? Our Mylan Explore-atory gallery plays host to limited time exhibits from all over the country. Stop in for a visit to see what’s new!
“Whether you have been to the Clay Center once or a hundred times there is always a new adventure awaiting. Experience the fun first hand today!”
“The Caperton Planetarium and Theater”
“The Caperton Planetarium and Theater has been re-imagined!
“Upgraded Planetarium software has resulted in a huge improvement in brightness and resolution, with crisp images, sparkling stars and stunning details! In technical terms, the new projection system will display 30 million pixels, 60 times every second on the dome!
“In addition to the amazing upgrades in picture quality, the new technology also brings the ability to showcase a variety of films and presentations in 3D! The 3D views are provided to the audience by utilizing active 3D glasses rather than the polarized lenses you would find in a regular cinema.”
“Art Museum of WVU” – Morgantown
“The Art Museum of West Virginia University is located near the Creative Arts Center on Patteson Drive, making the University’s vast art collection more accessible to the campus and public alike. The facility has two art galleries that present touring exhibitions as well as exhibitions drawn from the University’s collection. The Museum provides a welcoming and stimulating educational and research environment for diverse audiences to experience the transforming power of art. Exploring contemporary artistic innovation as well as artistic traditions of different cultures helps us to understand ourselves, our communities and our world.”
“WV Farm Museum” – Point Pleasant
“Dedicated to the Preservation of Our Farm Life Heritage.”
“Time stands still on a patch of 120 acres in West Virginia. Here you’ll find the state’s glorious farm life heritage has been preserved – the West Virginia State Farm Museum, a memorial to our farming and pioneering ancestors – a window to the past for future generations.”
“Buildings of historical value have been moved and rebuilt on the grounds. You will find log cabins and an early farmhouse, an operational 19th century blacksmith shop, turn-of-the-century doctor’s and newspaper offices, the first Lutheran Church west of the Allegheny Mountains, and more.”
“Nitro Museum” – Nitro
“Come and Explore History …
“Located only one mile from I-64, the Nitro WWI History Museum highlights Nitro’s unique WWI heritage as a World War I “Boomtown.” Built first was “Explosive Plant C,” to manufacture gunpowder for U.S. Troops and their Allies. The museum features a large collection of memorabilia and artifacts from WWI and later wars, including a replica WWI trench, as used in combat, numerous military uniforms, the original “Explosive Plant C” blueprints and photos and much more.“
West Virginia Museums
Grave Creek Mound WV CCC Mothman American Glass Clay Center Oglebay Kruger St Toy and Train Oil and Gas Youth Museum Matewan Minewars Heritage Farm
West Virginia Museums