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  West Virginia Culture Center

Charleston WV, Next to the State Capitol Building

Cultural Center

Photo (above) and following notes from their website: 

The Culture Center, a contemporary though complementary companion to the State Capitol, opened in 1976 to showcase West Virginia's artistic, cultural and historic heritage. The lower level of the WV State Museum recently re-opened after a complete renovation. You can also view the art and history exhibits in the Lobby and the Balcony Galleries; browse the State Archives library, or join in one of the dozen exciting festivals and events held throughout the year.

The Culture Center houses the offices of the Commission on the Arts and the State Historic Preservation Office, as well as the State Museum, State Archives and other administrative staff.

Archives Section

Be sure to visit the Archives section of the Culture Center and the website:

Whether studying for the Golden Horseshoe exam, researching your family lineage, or looking for information on the history of West Virginia, the Archives and History website is the premier on-line resource. The site features primary and secondary source documents, photographs, and databases; lists collections and other materials available in the State Archives; and provides research guides and assistance for genealogists.


Culture Center Museum

The Culture Center Museum takes up the entire basement of the building and is not to be missed!  Room after room of interesting exhibits show and explain various aspects of our state’s history and natural beauty.  For a peek into what really takes a day to experience, click on the link below and be sure to open each room’s page along the RH column and watch the video for each room.  Trust me – seeing it in person is well worth the trip.  And the price is right – it’s FREE! 

For Room 1 (of 11 Rooms) – Click Here: 

Don’t forget to click on the link for each room and watch the video. You will come away knowing things about West Virginia that even long-time residents aren’t aware of.    


The following photos are from 2 trips to the Culture Center.  The first trip was with a group of motorcycle riders who have joined me in photographing and documenting over 800 Historical Markers around the state.  The Director of the Dept. of History and Archives, Mr. Joe Geiger, graciously came in on a Saturday to show us around.  We saw such artifacts as the actual book of minutes used to record notes of the first legislative session of the new state in 1863 (see photo below).  After a tour of the records section, we went downstairs to the museum, which was unforgettable. 

The next trip to the Culture Center was to view the traveling display of Vintage Motorcycles and the history of motorcycles in West Virginia.  It was a very interesting display with educational material and photos of days gone by.

Enough talk – let’s look at some photos.





The main lobby of the Culture Center set up for the Vintage Motorcycles.  This was half the bikes.

The quilts on the wall are part of a semi-permanent exhibit.




Here are the rest of the Vintage Motorcycles on the other side of the lobby.




1910 Harley-Davidson Timeless




1931 Excelsior Henderson




1938 Indian Scout




1970 Suzuki RE5 Rotary




Mr. Joe Geiger, Director of the Dept. of Archives & History.  He assisted our group of riders as we looked for Historical Markers around the state, and used our photos and current documentation to update the state’s records.  It was a fun and educational project.  You can read about it here: 




Joe showed us through the archive storage rooms upstairs that is not open to the public. 

These are old state government records.  Many are available to view with scans they have made.





These shelves are full of old death certificates from the 1800s bound in leather books. 

It’s hard to comprehend the history that is in these shelves.




The actual notes from the first session of the Legislature of the new state of West Virginia in 1863.  WOW!




One of the hallways down in the Museum with various rooms to each side.




A display of a 19th Century pharmacy/company store.




Very nice mosaic of West Virginia – each county is insert with a different type of wood.

The pieces fit so tightly you could not get a sheet of paper between them.




One of the 35-Star flags from 1863-1864, until Nevada became the 36th state. 




The official seal of West Virginia. 


I hope you enjoyed your short tour of the WV Culture Center.  This is one of the destinations I would highly recommend to anyone – whether you are just visiting the state or if you have lived here your whole lifetime.  I guarantee you will come away a lot more knowledgeable about things to explore around our wonderful state.


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