(Photos available for download)
In celebration of West Virginia Day, Governor Joe Manchin III and First Lady Gayle Manchin today introduced the Division of Culture and History’s new online exhibit, “A State of Convenience: The Creation of West Virginia,” during an event in the Great Hall of the Cultural Center.
“I am very excited about this online addition to our state’s Division of Culture and History,” the governor said. “West Virginians truly understand the importance of family and community. We are so proud of our heritage, and this exhibit showcases our state’s past—highlighting the work of our forefathers as well as the important events that make West Virginia and West Virginians what we are today.”
The online exhibit tells the story of the formation of the state of West Virginia in the words of the statehood leaders, from the early differences between eastern and western Virginia through the establishment of the new state of West Virginia in 1863. Featuring photographs and documents from the collections of the West Virginia State Archives, the exhibit will be available on the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org as well as the governor’s official website at www.wvgov.org.
Exhibit highlights include images of more than 60 statehood leaders; statehood letters, documents and speeches, including a broadside for the order of ceremonies for the inauguration of West Virginia and the election ticket of Arthur Boreman, the state’s first governor; and transcriptions of the proceedings of the statehood conventions, the debate in the U.S. Senate regarding admitting West Virginia to the Union, President Abraham Lincoln’s written opinion on the admission of West Virginia, Boreman’s inaugural address, and the first state constitution. Many items in the exhibit have never been available on the internet before now.
Items will be added to the online exhibit on an ongoing basis. Anyone with statehood-related memorabilia who is willing to donate those items to the Archives is encouraged to contact Fredrick Armstrong, director of archives and history, at (304) 558-0230.
West Virginia Day is celebrated each year on June 20, which is the anniversary of the state’s creation in 1863. The state’s annual celebration of the holiday will be held on Tuesday at West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling, with speeches, music and children’s activities. Known as the “birthplace of West Virginia,” Independence Hall was the site of a series of events leading up to the state’s creation, including the first constitutional convention. For more information about the West Virginia Day celebration, call Independence Hall at (304) 238-1300.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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Governor and Mrs. Manchin with Joe Geiger and Fred Armstrong
Deputy Commissioner/Communications Manager
West Virginia Division of Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone (304) 558-0220, ext. 120
Fax (304) 558-2779