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Museum disaster planning and basic conservation workshops to be hosted by West Virginia Division of Culture and History


The West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) will host two workshops on “Museum Disaster Planning and Basic Conservation” presented by the West Virginia Association of Museums (WVAM). The sessions will explain emergency preparedness and response planning to help museum personnel safeguard collections damaged by water, whether from flooding, fire, earthquakes, severe storms or broken pipes. There is a $5 fee and reservations are required.

The first workshop will be held at West Virginia Independence Hall, 1528 Market Street, Wheeling, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, and the second one will be at Camp Washington- Carver, Route 41 South, Clifftop, on Thursday, Aug. 17. Both workshops will be held from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

James Mitchell, West Virginia State Museum curator for the WVDCH and treasurer for the WVAM, will conduct the sessions. He will explain basic steps to take to protect museum collections after a natural disaster and provide all participants with the Heritage Emergency National Task Force’s Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel. The wheel was developed by experts in the field and serves as a reference guide in the immediate aftermath of damage. The wheels were sponsored by Heritage Preservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin, a master of arts in early American culture from the University of Delaware and a master of science in public administration from Shippenburg University of Pennsylvania. He has been curator of industry and technology for the State Museum of Pennsylvania, where he also served as director and chief curator for the Carborundum Museum of Ceramics, and curator of decorative arts for the New Jersey State Museum, among others.

The WVAM received a grant from the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts to purchase and distribute the Heritage Emergency National Task Force’s Emergency Response and Salvage Wheels to every museum in the state.

For more information about the workshops or to make a reservation, contact Mitchell at (304) 558-0220, ext. 727.

West Virginia Independence Hall and Camp Washington-Carver are operated by the WVDCH. West Virginia Independence Hall, originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Independence Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988 and the WVDCH is assisted by the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation in all operations. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of major holidays. Directions are available by calling the museum at (304) 238-1300.

Camp Washington-Carver is a beautiful retreat listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and serves as the state’s mountain cultural arts center. The facility nurtures the cultural heritage embodied in the site since its dedication in 1942 as a 4-H and agricultural extension camp for West Virginia’s African Americans. The camp is located in Fayette County, adjacent to Babcock State Park. Directions are available by calling the camp at (304) 438-3005.

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 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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