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Brooke County Museum Gets A New Home

December 4, 2011
Linda Comins , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The long-desired move of the Brooke County Museum collection may be a step closer to fruition.

When West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin makes a scheduled visit to Wellsburg Wednesday, Dec. 7, to make grant presentations, it's anticipated that he will announce the awarding of state funding for moving the museum to a different location in downtown Wellsburg.

A starting time for the move has not been established, but Ruby Greathouse, director of the Brooke County Museum, said the museum board hopes to be ready for a grand opening in the new location in April, the month when the facility historically opens for the season.

The plan is that the museum collection would be moved from its current location in a historic building (a former frontier tavern and inn) at 600 Main St. to the former G.C. Murphy storefront at the corner of Seventh and Charles streets. Greathouse said the move would mean leaving a 4,800-square-feet space (spread out over three floors) and reopening in a more spacious 10,000-square-feet area, all on one floor.

As its collection has expanded, the museum's space has become cramped. In addition, the county commission (which owns the Main Street property) has been expressing interest in using the building for other purposes.

When the museum moves to the new location, a permanent military exhibit will be established, Greathouse said. One side of the exhibition area will be devoted to Civil War-related displays, she added.

The Charles Street site also will make the museum more accessible to the newly-designated scenic byway in Brooke County, the museum director pointed out. She explained that the scenic byway begins on W.Va. 2 in Wellsburg, goes east on W.Va. 27 to W.Va. 88, then loops around the village of Bethany before heading west on W.Va. 67 and returning to Wellsburg.

During the governor's visit to the Northern Panhandle, Tomblin also is expected to present a grant to the Brooke Pioneer Trail, another project in which Greathouse is involved.

The state funds will be used to purchase a tractor, a cutting bow and a snow blade to allow the Brooke County group to provide better maintanence of the trail surface in inclement weather, Greathouse said.

When West Virginia Division of Tourism officials visited West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling Wednesday, Nov. 30, to unveil a series of heritage videos commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Betty Carver, West Virginia tourism commissioner, noted that Travis Henline, site manager of West Virginia Independence Hall, narrated the Wheeling-related portion of the Northern Panhandle travel video.

Carver remarked that Henline did such a fine job with the narration that he is now on the Division of Tourism's list of "volunteers."

Lemeul B. Muniz, who filmed travel sites in each region of the state for the nine high-definition videos, also was on hand for the media event in West Virginia Independence Hall's lower-level theater.

The new tourism videos vary in length from three to nine minutes. Officials said Muniz shot enough footage at the various locations to produce several full-length videos.

Each heritage video is available to view online at the division's website, The site provides travelers with information ranging from downloadable Civil War trail maps and brochures to a list of upcoming re-enactments and events.

The travel regions featured in the series include the Northern Panhandle, Eastern Panhandle, Potomac Highlands, Mountaineer Country, Mid-Ohio Valley, Mountain Lakes, New River-Greenbrier Valley, Metro Valley and Hatfield-McCoy Mountains.

The current course on music appreciation in the People's University series at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling will conclude at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6. Bruce Wheeler, executive director of the Wheeling Symphony and founder of the Heritage Music BluesFest in Wheeling, will present the final session, offering a succinct examination of the blues.

Meanwhile, Sean Duffy, coordinator of the People's University program at the library, said the topic for the spring series will be government. Instructors will be announced later, Duffy said. The first of the free weekly classes will be offered on Tuesday, April 10.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at:

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