The historic West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) Museum in downtown Wheeling will ring in the holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., with activities for the entire family. The program is free and open to the public.
Guided tours of the museum will be led by the colorful 19th-century character, Elizabeth Busbey. Dressed in period clothing, the living history guide brings to life the turmoil citizens of Wheeling felt during the Civil War. These tours are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Self-guided tours are always available.
Visitors are invited to enjoy cookies and punch, which will be served in the reception area on the first floor of the museum, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. In addition, there will be storytelling near the holiday tree during the same time period.
Rounding out the day’s activities, participants can see a concert performance by the Quartertone Quartet at 2 p.m., in the WVIH courtroom, considered to be the birthplace of West Virginia. The Quartertone Quartet, formerly known as The Vance Quartet, has performed at Oglebay Park, The Stifel Center for Fine Arts and The Fort Henry Club, as well as with various community choral organizations and local churches including Temple Shalom. The group is based in Wheeling and composed of Kathryn Voorhees, soprano; Jane Ketcham, alto; William Stephens, tenor; and Terry Naughton, baritone/bass.
Visitors also can see the permanent exhibition West Virginia: Born of the Civil War which 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 season celebration, contact Melissa Brown, site manager at West Virginia Independence Hall, 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. The facility was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988 and is on the Civil War Discovery Trail, which links more than 500 sites in 28 states to inspire and to teach the story of the Civil War and its enduring impact on America. Operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation, the museum in open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of major holidays, and is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling. During the holiday season, the museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
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. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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