The Museum in the Park at Chief Logan State Park has opened a new exhibit, Remembering Buffalo Creek, a solemn recollection of the Feb. 26, 1972 tragedy. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Artifacts pertaining directly to the disaster, including the uniform worn by Lila Hinchman, former director of the Logan County Chapter of the American Red Cross, are on display. The Red Cross flag that hung over Man High School following the disaster to mark the school as a shelter and temporary Red Cross headquarters also is featured.
The exhibit includes many artifacts from the West Virginia State Museum collection, including newspaper articles and the quilt made by Ora Hagood and other survivors of the flood as therapy for the survivors. There is also a map, painted by Adam Hodges, cultural programming specialist for the Museum, depicting the towns directly in the path of the flood, accompanied by photographs of the destruction from the West Virginia State Archives.
In addition, the exhibit features two films about the disaster, both made by filmmaker and producer Mimi Pickering for Appalshop, Inc. The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man (1975, 40 minutes) chronicles the flood which killed 125 people, injured 1,100 and left 4,000 homeless when a coal-waste dam collapsed at the head of a hollow in Logan County. Interviews with survivors, representatives of union and citizen’s groups, and officials of the Pittston Company are combined with actual footage of the flood and scenes of the ensuing devastation. Last year, librarian of Congress John H. Billington chose the film to be added the National Film Registry.
Buffalo Creek Revisited (1984, 31 minutes) was filmed 10 years after the flood and looks at “the second disaster on Buffalo Creek,” in which the survivors’ efforts to rebuild the communities shattered by the flood are thwarted. The film explores the psychology of disaster, the importance of community, and the paradox of poor people living in a rich land.
Appalshop, Inc., is a multi-disciplinary arts and education center in Whitesburg, Ky., producing original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, multimedia and books. The center is dedicated to the proposition that the world is immeasurably enriched when local cultures garner the resources, including new technologies, to tell their own stories and to listen to the unique stories of others.
For more information about Remembering Buffalo Creek, contact Hodges at (304) 792-7229 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 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 State Archives. One area of the museum is dedicated to local and regional history. It is operated and maintained by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and is located four miles north of Logan on West Virginia Route 10 at Chief Logan State Park. The Museum’s operating hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, and 1 - 5 p.m. Sunday.
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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