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West Virginia

Between 2003 and 2012, institutions and individuals in West Virginia received $3.6 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the West Virginia Humanities Council for projects that explore the human endeavor and preserve our cultural heritage.

Below are some examples.

  • Davis and Elkins College, Elkins, was awarded a $65,500 grant to preserve and make accessible 800 hours of recorded Appalachian music and oral history documenting the culture of West Virginia.
  • Every state had a stake in the Civil War; only West Virginia owes its existence to the conflict between North and South. Its Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau is traveling the state telling war stories from the raid on Harpers Ferry to the local Underground Railroad.
  • With support from a $25,000 grant, “Women in Islam,” a conference at West Virginia University, Morgantown, brought together college faculty from across West Virginia to study the many ways in which Islam informs and shapes the lives of women of that faith.
  • Historic Beverly Preservation received a $10,000 planning grant to support arrangements for two exhibitions on local and regional Appalachian culture and history in a new museum that makes use of historic buildings in the town.
  • The Randolph Historical Society received a $10,000 grant to support plans for an interpretative exhibition on a local Appalachian Forest Heritage Area. The exhibition showcased the historical role of the forest and how it has been shaped by human hands.
  • The Oglebay Institute, Wheeling, manages the Glass Museum, which features locally made glass pieces, and the Mansion Museum, former home of iron magnate Earl W. Oglebay. With a $5,000 grant, the institute purchased environmental monitoring equipment for its collections and trained staff in its use.
  • Bluefield State College received a $4,000 grant to assess the preservation needs of its Hebert Collection of historic photos and negatives documenting the school’s transition from an all-black teachers college to an integrated institution in the 1950s.
  • Kirk Hazen, a professor at West Virginia University, received a $5,000 summer stipend to support his study of Appalachian English as used at the turn of the twenty-first century, which will update decades-old research on the local dialect.
  • In the Peabody-award winning radio documentary The Great Textbook War, aging protestors and defenders of the public schools rehash the sometimes violent 1974 controversy in Kanawha over new language arts textbooks. Tray Kay’s documentary was supported by a $20,000 grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.
  • Twenty-two hundred articles on the life, culture, and history of West Virginia were written for the West Virginia Encyclopedia, a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council, and edited by executive director Ken Sullivan.