December, 2, 2010
The historic West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) Museum in downtown Wheeling will ring in the holiday season with an open house on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., with activities for the entire family. Cookies and punch will be served. The program, “Holidays at the Hall,” is free and the public is invited to attend.
Children can enjoy storytelling with Sandy Smith of Wheeling near the decorated tree all day, as well as participate in the holiday craft activity by making their own Christmas card with Sue Beth Warren, also of Wheeling. A guided tour of the museum will be led by the colorful 19th-century character, Elizabeth Busbey at 11 a.m. Dressed in period clothing, the living history guide brings to life the turmoil citizens of Wheeling felt during the Civil War. Self-guided tours also are available.
Rounding out the special activities, the St. James Lutheran Church Handbell Choir will present a concert in the third floor courtroom at 2 p.m.
Visitors also can see the permanent exhibits on display at the museum. Waving for Liberty and the Union is the largest exhibit of West Virginia Civil War battle flags anywhere. The exhibit features the state’s rare collection of original flags, none of which have been on public display for more than two decades. Another exhibit, West Virginia: Born of the Civil War features dramatic displays with period artifacts and explores the statehood process against the background of the Civil War. They also can view an interpretive video, For Liberty and Union.
For more information about the holiday open house, contact Travis Henline, site manager for WVIH, at (304) 238-1300.
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. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.