POINT PLEASANT — Though art is hard to define, it’s not hard to find in Point Pleasant thanks to a piece of the Smithsonian docking at the Point Pleasant River Museum.
The ribbon was officially cut on the museum’s latest exhibit which is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives along with the West Virginia Humanities Council. The name of the traveling, national exhibit is “The Way We Worked” and it will be at the river museum until May 5.
The exhibit documents the lives of ordinary working people from across America from 1857-1987. Included in the exhibition presented by the river museum will be the many ways the people of Mason County earned a living and contributed to the growth of this country.
One of the most important parts of the exhibit is the local contribution, according to Mark Payne, program director with the W.Va. Humanities Council. Payne said these local contributions show a new generation how Mason County fit into America’s workforce.
For example, there are local pieces on long-gone businesses like the Point Pleasant Transportation Company, the City Bus Company, Walker IGA Grocery and the Wallis Miller Creamery Company which used to sit on Fifth Street in Point Pleasant. The creamery went on to become the Kanawha Dairy and then the Rich Valley Dairy which consolidated businesses in Point Pleasant and in Ohio at Gallipolis, Middleport and Pomeroy.
Jack Fowler of the river museum said the local portion of the exhibit is a work in progress in that he hopes more local people will contribute materials from Mason County to be shown to visitors.
Fowler, along with Don Waldie of the Point Pleasant River Museum, helped lead a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception for the exhibit on Tuesday afternoon. Recognized for their efforts in bringing the national exhibit to Point Pleasant were the W.Va. Humanities Council, staff of Pleasant Valley Hospital which helped provide marketing materials and Sammy Lopez, publisher of Ohio Valley Publishing Company which includes the Point Pleasant Register. OVP will be releasing a special, commemorative insert in the Point Pleasant Register about the exhibit on Saturday, March 31.
Mayor Brian Billings along with State Sen. Mike Hall also spoke at the event as did Mary Eckerson, spokesperson for Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. Also recognized were the river museum’s board of directors, its staff and its many volunteers as well as the Mason County Commission with Commissioner Rick Handley in attendance.
Fowler said schools from Putnam County and a local scout troop have already booked tours of “The Way We Worked” exhibit and he hopes that trend continues, educating a whole new generation on relics, and lives, from the past. As Sen. Hall pointed out, many young people no longer know what a typewriter is or did. This exhibit will now educate young people on the “home row keys,” and much more.
The river museum has extended its hours through the week for this special exhibit from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Tuesday - Friday. The museum is open from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed on Mondays.
The river museum will also have extended hours for five, free informative programs which go along with the exhibit. All programs start at 7 p.m. and are as follows: April 13, Charles Keeney will present “History of Mason County,” April 17, Glenn Miller will present “The Lambert Lands ‘A Journey to Freedom,’” April 20, Leonard “Buster” Riffle will present “Reminiscing About Old Point Pleasant,” April 26, Middleport, Ohio Mayor Mike Gerlach will present “The Underground Railroad,” May 4, Butch Leport will present “Life on the River.”
The children’s events planned for the exhibition are set for: April 7, Kid’s Day at the River Museum, including a visit with the Easter Bunny; April 22, Chip and Heather Wood present “The Way We Played.”