Several years ago, my husband and I were wandering around (one of my favorite things to do, if you hadn’t noticed) Charleston, WV. It was then I discovered the WV State Museum.
Here’s a brief description from their website: “The West Virginia State Museum is dedicated to inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of the public by instilling a deeper understanding and sense of pride through the collection, preservation and exhibition of diverse cultural and historic traditions, focusing on every aspect of West Virginia history, culture, art, paleontology, archaeology and geology from all geographic regions – representing the people, land and industries.” The Museum is located on the Capitol grounds inside the lower level of The Culture Center building (that many may know for Mountain Stage shows). In June of 2009, the newly renovated museum opened. It was shortly thereafter that my husband and I stumbled upon it.
Since my first visit, I knew that I wanted to return with my daughter. Recently, we were able to make the trip. After the exciting escalator ride to the lower level, my wee babe immediately noticed the dim lighting. She was nervous and fearful, at first. However, it didn’t take her long to acclimate to the surroundings and start zooming off to the next “room.” The museum is laid out quite well. A date is inscribed on a path that leads you to each section of WV’s history. You’ll notice the path also changes with each time period too. As with most museums, this one is not only educational but appealing to the senses. The museum is interactive and certain lights and sounds will activate upon your arrival to that section. We meandered along the path and took note of several interesting eras while discussing “new to her” things, such as a cannon. We wrapped up the tour in the present time period with displays highlighting our state fairs and festivals. For us, the entire visit took us less than an hour.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about the state of West Virginia, you should definitely put this museum on your adventure list. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 9AM-5PM and 12PM-5PM on Sunday. Again, it is FREE. Allow yourself ample time to explore each area. Additional information about the museum can be found here.