By Edward Pride IV, Preserve WV AmeriCorps
After more than a year of renovation and planning, a celebrated Clarksburg landmark is once again open to the public. Waldomore, an antebellum-era mansion situated on the grounds of the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, has served the residents of Clarksburg as a library, museum, archives, and civic meeting and performance space for more than 80 years. To commemorate the reopening of the building, a grand reopening reception and open house was held to provide guests a much-anticipated tour of the site.
Originally constructed in 1842 by Clarksburg businessman and Virginia State Senator Waldo P. Goff, the two-story brick mansion served as the residence of the Goff family for nearly a century. In 1930, Waldo’s daughter, May Goff Lowndes, donated the structure to the City of Clarksburg to be used as a library and museum. From 1930 to 1975, Waldomore operated as home of the Clarksburg Public Library. After the completion of a new library building in 1975, Waldomore was repurposed as a center for historic and genealogical research as well as a public meeting and event space.
In October 2015, the City of Clarksburg was awarded a grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts for the purpose of restoring Waldomore. The project, totaling more than $500,000, included the replacing of electrical systems, installation of new period light fixtures and chandeliers, lead and asbestos abatement, plaster repair, new carpeting and paint, and restoration of exterior doors. Between April and December of 2016, contractors from Allegheny Restoration were hard at work returning the building to its former glory.
Upon completion of the renovation, Waldomore and library staff began the process of returning collections and furnishings back to the site. During the restoration, Waldomore staff embarked on the arduous task of creating new policies and operating procedures, the laying out of new floor plans, and the processing and cataloging of artifacts and materials for their eventual return. The once in a lifetime opportunity allowed for staff to institute much needed changes to better serve patrons as well as allow for the continued preservation of collections for future generations.
Prior to the grand reopening, a private reception was held for those who assisted and contributed to the project as a thank you for their tireless effort and support. Guests in attendance included the Mayor and City Council of Clarksburg, the Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the Director of the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, and various contractors and engineers who worked on the project. During the reception, several speakers addressed the attendees and spoke of the importance of Waldomore to Clarksburg and historic preservation in the Mountain State.
On June 11th, Waldomore reopened its doors once again for its grand reopening reception. During the festivities, city representatives and the public were able to tour the newly restored structure as well as partake in light entertainment and refreshments. Waldomore and library staff were on hand to assist patrons as well as provide information on the building and project. Comments ranged from memories of Waldomore when it was once a library to compliments on the quality of the renovation. In total, more than 150 guests participated in the reception. Thanks to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, City of Clarksburg, the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, and countless individuals, the success of this renovation will allow for Waldomore to continue providing quality service and research for decades to come.
I am from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and share a hometown with children’s television educator Fred Rogers, professional golfer Arnold Palmer, and even the first banana split. History, therefore, was an ever-present and meaningful part of growing up. I soon realized there were so many stories from the past left unwritten. When I attended Saint Vincent College for history, I wrote my senior thesis on Powdermill Nature Reserve’s bird banding lab, the longest continually-running station of its kind in the United States. Having visited and worked at Powdermill for many years, I was excited to document its history and craft an interesting narrative. I also developed an exhibit on Rachel Carson at the McCarl Coverlet Gallery on campus. Thanks to these projects and my academic mentors at Saint Vincent, I discovered the worlds of public history and environmental history. At West Virginia University, I worked with professors and fellow graduate students on public history projects such as the West Virginia glass industry and Jack Roberts Park. A project on Morgantown’s Sunnyside neighborhood soon developed into my MA thesis, which looked at changes in the neighborhood’s culture, housing, and approach to development. In the summer of 2016, I had the wonderful opportunity to intern at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where I worked on education programs, exhibit development, and book projects. Furthermore, I spent a few weeks of this summer traveling Europe with my sister and witnessing an incredible array of historic sites, cultures, and stories. Whether I was spending time in the mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, working on “America’s Front Yard” in the country’s most-visited museum, or traveling the world, I have learned a lot about the power of place. My studies over the past few years have solidified a passion for cultural landscapes and understanding sense of place and identity.
Clio turns the physical, ever-changing landscapes of our world into a virtual museum, where we can document and discover the past around us. There are currently around 30,000 Clio entries on historical sites, museums, monuments, landmarks, and other sites of cultural or historical significance. One of my favorite features of Clio is the Time Capsule category, which encourages users to create entries for sites that no longer exist. Each Clio entry includes a concise, scholarly narrative and informative resources such as photographs, maps, primary sources, books, articles, videos, and credible websites. These entries are created by individuals, organizations, teachers, and students, building not only a collection of entries but a community of engaged users. I first learned about Clio and the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program through my colleagues at WVU. I heard nothing but accolades, which motivated me to pursue AmeriCorps after graduation. I am thrilled to serve with a nonprofit that is promoting historical scholarship and community engagement on a creative digital platform. I also appreciate the philosophy of its founder, Dr. David Trowbridge of Marshall University, that success is not measured by clicks or downloads but by interaction with historical and cultural resources. This commitment to education and public accessibility gives so much meaning to my everyday work.
A northern California native, Kyle Warmack has had a passion for history all his life. This love of history led him to work in the film industry, first in receiving his education at the UCLA School of Film, Theater and Television, then for ten years as gaffer (Chief Lighting Technician) on a wide range of screen projects.
Kyle first fell in love with the history of West Virginia while working in the state on two feature films several years ago. When he was looking for an opportunity to give back through service in 2017, the positions offered by the Preservation Alliance proved to be an ideal chance to spend more time learning about the Mountain State's rich past while contributing to this unique and special place. While serving as a Preserve WV AmeriCorps member with the Clio Foundation, he has the excuse to talk about history with anyone and everyone in the state...and he's going to try to do just that!
My name is Rebekah Valentine. I am currently serving as a Preserve WV AmeriCorps member at the Waldomore, which is affiliated with the Clarksburg/Harrison County Public Library. During my service year, I will organize and inventory artifacts, create an exhibit, assist with tours, and recruit and train volunteers.
My name is Elizabeth Satterfield, and I am serving with the West Virginia Association of Museums. I am studying history at West Virginia University, with emphases in historic preservation and West Virginia history. Currently, I am researching Swiss settlement in Randolph County, WV, for my senior capstone in addition to creating an exhibit for WVU’s library based on summer research on the Sunnyside neighborhood of Morgantown
When I heard about Preserve WV AmeriCorps positions in Morgantown, I quickly applied, hoping to expand my experience and network within the preservation field. I accepted a position with the West Virginia Association of Museums to learn more about the administrative side of museums, how to write grants, and improve my event planning skills. I am also excited to contribute to a stronger museum community within the state through educational workshops and accessible resources. I am looking forward to meeting many new people through the Preserve WV program and participating in service projects across the state.
By Patrick Corcoran, Preserve WV AmeriCorps Member Eastern Regional Coal Archives/National Coal Heritage Area
West Virginia continues to gain value, due to successful historic resource improvement projects, just like the one recently undertaken at Old Stone Church Cemetery in Lewisburg, WV. Preserve WV AmeriCorps members partnered with Friends of the Old Stone Cemetery for a day of historic burial preservation education, as well as, hands-on restoration experience.
What if there was a way to discover West Virginia’s history, simply by going for a walk or drive? Thanks to the efforts of universities, historical societies, libraries, and local historians throughout the state who are using Clio, that future is now possible. And thanks to a $60,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, there will soon be even more to discover throughout the Mountain State when residents and visitors use Clio, a website and mobile application that makes history come alive. Clio was built in West Virginia and is free for everyone at www.theclio.com.
The National Endowment for the Humanities announced the grant to Marshall University on August 2, 2017. The federal grant, together with tax-deductible donations raised by Marshall University to secure their portion of the match, will support a three-year effort by a team of scholars, librarians, museum professionals, and graduate students throughout the state. These scholars and students will work with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Appalachian Studies Association, West Virginia Division of History and Culture, Foundation for the Tri-State, and the West Virginia Association of Museums to create heritage tourism walking tours throughout the state.
On Monday, June 26, 2017, at the Old Stone Cemetery, 25 volunteers from local communities and the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program, cleaned and repaired over two dozen tombstones under the instruction of cemetery preservationists, Morgan and Kate Bunn, of Friends of Old Stone Cemetery. This was a record number of tombstones cleaned in a one day workshop. In addition, volunteers helped uncover most of the antique fencing of a lost family plot dating to 1857.
The restoration workshop, organized by Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) and Friends of Old Stone Cemetery, began with a short instruction of the do’s and don’ts of tombstone restoration and a demonstration of the process of cleaning the stones with plenty of water and D/2 (a non-toxic biological cleaner that removes stains from molds, algae, lichen, and air pollutants). Each volunteer was given a take-home bucket of the necessary cleaning tools.
PAWV invites YOU to help 3 preservation nonprofits match their AmeriCorps funding NOW!
What is AmeriCorps and Why are these Matches so Important? As you know, each nonprofit that wants to receive an AmeriCorps member has to raise match money.
AmeriCorps members are essential to these nonprofits being able to do what each of them does. AmeriCorps members manage volunteers and take the lead on historic preservation projects. Their service is irreplaceable and vital.
All donations are processed through the Network for Good webpage and are tax-deductible.
Here’s Where Your Money Will Go!
PAWV is recruiting for Preserve WV AmeriCorps members for the 2017-2018 program year.
The purpose of the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program is to implement historic preservation and heritage tourism projects throughout West Virginia by way of historic resource re-use, improvement, development, and interpretation. Members’ service will emphasize community development and revitalization through projects focused on historic preservation, volunteer management, and cultural heritage tourism development.
Preserve WV AmeriCorps members will be placed with individual sites throughout the state of West Virginia, ranging from museums and archives to Main Street organizations and city agencies. Positions open for recruitment are noted below. For more information about position descriptions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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