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Bluefield foundation makes $25,000 gift to State Museum renovation project

Louis A. Capaldini, acting commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, today announced that the Hugh I. Shott, Jr., Foundation of Bluefield has made a $25,000 grant to The West Virginia State Museum Board, Incorporated, toward the project to renovate the State Museum. The gift brings the total raised for the campaign to $1,065,000.

The 24-year-old West Virginia State Museum, located in the lower level of the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex, will undergo a complete facelift over the next year-and-a-half. 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. Currently in the design phase, the project will be completed at a cost of $6 million, $4 million of which has been pledged by the West Virginia Legislature. The Museum Board established the Millennium Fund last year to raise the remaining $2 million necessary for the completion of the project from the private sector.

“The history of West Virginia is important and should be made available to our state’s citizens and guests. We should all know the history of our families, communities and state.” said R.W. Wilkinson, Foundation president. “This new museum will improve the quality of life for all West Virginians.”

Renay Conlin, chairman of the Museum Board, said, “The Shott Foundation has a long track record of providing educational opportunities like those that will be found in the new museum. This generous gift is evidence of the Foundation’s dedication to bettering the lives of all West Virginians and we are extremely grateful for its support.”

The Shott Foundation was established in 1984 by publisher Hugh Ike Shott, Jr., for the betterment of his hometown of Bluefield and the state of West Virginia. Shott spent more than 60 years with the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the newspaper founded by his father in 1896. Shott began working for the paper in 1922 and became publisher in 1953 following his father’s death. Shott and his family also started Bluefield’s first radio station, first television station and the now-defunct Bluefield Sunset News and Times. Shott died in 1986 at the age of 85. The Foundation has made generous donations in the past to West Virginia University, Concord College, Marshall University and Bluefield State College.

Hundreds of people gathered at a Cultural Center ceremony last month to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the three-year Museum renovation project. At the event, Governor Cecil H. Underwood unveiled the redesigned entrance to the Museum, including a new tour desk, streaming banners, colorful graphics and a display case featuring artifacts from the State Museum collection, all located in the Great Hall of the Cultural Center.

Other gifts to the museum campaign to-date include: Clay Foundation ($350,000), The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation ($250,000), The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation ($150,000), Union Carbide Foundation ($100,000), The Bernard H. & Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation ($60,000), Farmer, Cline & Arnold ($50,000), American Electric Power ($40,000), McJunkin Corporation ($20,000). A number of smaller gifts rounds out the total pledged. Paul D. Marshall and Associates of Charleston has donated architectural services to the project.

For more information contact Ginny Painter at (304) 558-0220, ext. 120.

The West Virginia State Museum Board is a non-stock, non-profit corporation incorporated by the State of West Virginia in November 1999. Its purpose is to guide and support the West Virginia State Museum and to help the West Virginia Division of Culture and History fulfill its mission.