Last Saturday, after two years of organization and building renovation, the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum finally opened it’s doors to the public on May 16th!
(above: a pictorial walk-through of the museum exhibits, starting with our interpretive space and winding through the five chronological exhibits. You can also go straight to the album here.)
During a town-wide festival which included the annual Matewan Massacre outdoor reenactment/drama, we had 500+ visitors to the museum! Besides great live music all day, we had a keynote from UMWA President Cecil Roberts, and presentations from Appalachian historian Dr. David Alan Corbin, local leader Francine Jones, and board member/historian Chuck Keeney. For the past year, I lead the exhibition design for this museum, and did most of the installation of imagery and artifacts in the week leading up to our opening. It was an incredible feeling to see it all come together, and packed full of people from the community (and afar) for a whole day!
The Charleston Gazette ran a great article about the grand opening event, and museum board member Catherine Moore wrote an excellent piece over at Yes! about our project within the larger context of heritage tourism in the coalfields of West Virginia.
Want to visit the museum? We’re in Matewan, Mingo County, southern WV. This summer we’re open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10-4pm. There’s more information on how to get to the museum right here.