2013 Exhibit: West Virginia Sesquicentennial

map of WV and 35 star flag

On June 20, 2013, West Virginia celebrated the sesquicentennial of its existence. The circumstances surrounding the state's creation 150 years ago were unprecedented, possibly unconstitutional, and certainly ironic. A civil war then being fought to prevent secession at the national level led directly to what many viewed as secession at the state level. Hypocrisy? A century and a half later, these seemingly contradictory events still excite and confound those who wish to study and understand them. The West Virginia and Regional History Center's 2013 exhibit explores West Virginia's path to statehood and the immediate effects of the establishment of the 35th state.

The first gallery of the exhibit focuses on the tensions in Virginia before West Virginia's statehood was declared, exploring the long history of differing needs and attitudes that drove eastern and western Virginia apart.
To access a PDF slideshow of this portion of the exhibit, click here.

The second gallery of the exhibit focuses on the path from Virginia's secession from the Union in 1861 through West Virginia statehood, including some of the challenges that faced the new state.
To access a PDF slideshow of this portion of the exhibit, click here.

A special section of the exhibit focuses on two artists who depicted the state during this critical period: Joseph H. Diss Debar, designer of the West Virginia State Seal, and famed author and illustrator David Hunter Strother, a.k.a. "Porte Crayon," who served as topographer and cavalry officer in the Union Army.
To access a PDF slideshow of this special section of the exhibit, click here.

Also on display is a special exhibit of recently acquired items pertaining to General Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn of Lewis County, who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Highlights include an honorary sword given to Lightburn, his commission as general, and the scabbard that may have saved his life.
To access a PDF slideshow of this display case, click here.

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The West Virginia and Regional History Center is the largest historical archives/library relating to West Virginia in existence.

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