Upshur exhibit offers history

The Inter-Mountain photo by Amanda Hayes The Upshur County Historical Society’s Summer Exhibit offers many local historical items.

BUCKHANNON – Step right up to the Upshur County Historical Society’s Summer Exhibit and visit an “Upshur County Scrapbook of Unusual and Interesting People, Places, Events and other Curiosities.”

Open Sunday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. through Sept. 29, the exhibit is located in the History Center Museum, 81 W. Main Street, Buckhannon.

“People have said over the years, ‘Is this all you have got? Do you have any other artifacts?'” special projects director Noel Tenney said. “We have 23,000 catalogued artifacts.”

This summer, the historical society decided to take a few more artifacts out of the archives and create an exhibit to showcase as many as possible.

“The old idea of museums was cabinets of curiosities, so we built our whole exhibit on the concepts of curiosities,” Tenney said.

Tenney said the historical society started looking at what they did have and it turns out they have plenty of curiosities.

“We have lots that are wonderful, little mini stories,” he said. “We brought out lots of our artifacts.”

Some of those artifacts on display this summer are Nellie McWhorter’s 1916 wedding dress, a G.O. Young ice cream table that the society just acquired, musical instruments from turn-of-the-century community bands, Joe Moore’s pocket watch and much, much, more.

“We tried to tell a different story on each panel and some of them are about people, some of them are about places,” he said. “We have bridges, we have photographers, autograph books, scrapbooks.”

There are coverlets and quilts, folk art, panels about the circus that came to town and much more.

“You have to spend a good bit of time with it to see it all,” he said.

Tenney said some of his favorite pieces are the wedding dress, the folk art and the quilts and coverlets.

“This is a 1938 friendship quilt top from the Trubie Run School that has all of the kid’s names on it,” he said. “We know that Beulah Brake [Koon] was the teacher.”

The exhibit also includes a quilt just received from the Hockenberry farm.

AmeriCorps VISTA John Gagnon worked on the exhibit quite a bit with historical society members.

The historical society is also working with the Americorps and the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area on a History Hunters passport.

“The idea is to try to encourage young people, especially elementary and middle school students to get out to museums,” Gagnon said. “The idea is you go to a place, answer questions and get them stamped. If you complete the whole book and get them all stamped, there is a pin. Each museum has one and wherever you complete it, they will give you the pin.”

The other museums include Beverly Heritage Center, Randolph County Museum, Appalachian Forest Discovery Center, West Virginia Railroad Museum and Stirrup Gallery.