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Governor unveils new entrance to West Virginia State Museum this evening

At a ceremony this evening on the plaza steps of the Cultural Center in Charleston, Governor Cecil H. Underwood, flanked by West Virginia State Museum Board officer Renay Conlin and Louis A. Capaldini, acting commissioner of culture and history, unveiled the redesigned entrance to the West Virginia State Museum.

Hundreds of people gathered at the event to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the three-year Museum renovation project. The elements unveiled this evening include a new tour desk, streaming banners, colorful graphics and a display case featuring artifacts from the State Museum collection, all at the Museum entrance in the Great Hall of the Cultural Center. The second phase of the project, the renovation of the entire Museum level of the Cultural Center, is scheduled for completion in April 2002.

“The sneak peak we are getting tonight is just enough to whet our appetites for the new West Virginia State Museum,” Underwood told the crowd at the ceremony. “This is our first look at the new Museum’s themes and flavor. From here on out, we will become even more excited about its possibilities, enjoying a renewed pride in our state’s history.”

The history of the state will be told in the new 23,000-square-foot Museum through interactive, participatory displays that will appeal to visitors of all ages. Through its exhibitions, West Virginians will become excited about their past and realize how they can influence their future. Just as importantly, the newly renovated Museum will attract tourists who will travel to other heritage sites in the state, boosting local economies.

The total cost of the renovation is estimated at $6 million, $2 million of which is being raised from the private sector by the West Virginia State Museum Board. The State of West Virginia has pledged $4 million. One of the nation’s leading museum design firms, Christopher Chadbourne and Associates Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., has been hired to oversee the project. Hadley Exhibits Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y., fabricated the Great Hall display.

“A true public-private partnership, the new Museum will become one of our state’s real treasures as soon as its doors are opened,” Underwood added. “Generations of West Virginians will benefit from the legacy we are building for them today. We have a debt to the past and an obligation to the future–that we pass on West Virginia’s rich history as a living treasure to those who will follow us.”

Gifts from the private sector to the State Museum Board campaign were acknowledged at the ceremony and include: Clay Foundation ($350,000), The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation ($250,000), The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation ($150,000), Union Carbide Foundation ($100,000), Bernard H. & Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation ($60,000), the law firm of Farmer, Cline & Arnold ($50,000), American Electric Power ($40,000) and McJunkin Corporation ($20,000). A number of gifts from individual citizens bring the amount raised to-date to $1.04 million. Paul D. Marshall and Associates of Charleston donated architectural services to the project.

For more information about the project to renovate the West Virginia State Museum, call Ginny Painter, director of public information and programming for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, at (304) 558-0220.

three banners hanging from ceiling

stairwell display