CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK – Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, the revered Confederate commanders, along with Francis Pierpont, known as the “Father of West Virginia,” will make special appearances at Museum in the Park at Chief Logan State Park on Thursday, Oct. 18, and Friday, Oct. 19, during “School Days” activities that are a prelude to the annual Frontier Days Weekend event on Saturday, Oct. 20, and Sunday, Oct. 21.
At 11 a.m. Thursday, Travis Henline, site manager at West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling, will portray Pierpont, a Monongalia County native and Virginia lawmaker who fought against secession. He was governor of the Restored Government of Virginia during the Civil War, governor of Virginia during the first years of reconstruction, and later a state delegate representing Marion County.
The West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive! program will bring the two Confederate generals to the Museum in the Park. At 1 p.m., Thursday, Lee, portrayed by Al Stone of Hinton, will discuss his adventures as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Friday’s program begins at 10 a.m. with Jackson, portrayed by Doug Riley of Tunnelton, who will lead kids and other visitors in a mock Civil War battle. Riley will repeat his History Alive! characterization of “Stonewall” Jackson at noon if time permits.
Reservations must be made in advance for the Friday programs, due to the highly structured activities in coordinating the battles. Call the museum at 304-792-7229 to register your class.
The History Alive! program brings historical characters to life through portrayals by presenters who have conducted scholarly research on their character. The presentations consist of three parts, beginning with a monologue in which the character introduces the historical, social and political issues of the era, followed by the character initiating a discussion with the audience, allowing time for questions, debate and disagreements with the character. The program wraps up with the presenter breaking character to answer questions as a researcher.
The West Virginia Humanities Council History Alive! program is being hosted by The Museum in the Park. The Humanities Council is a private, not-for-profit organization that has provided educational programs for all West Virginians for more than 30 years.
On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can learn how early frontiersmen, Native Americans, Civil War soldiers and craftsmen lived. This will allow participants to see the changes in clothing, lifestyles, firearms, weapons and crafts over a period of time. Participants can watch gunsmiths break down and rebuild firearms, and observe re-enactors as they set off cannons and fire flintlock guns.
Every fall as part of Frontier Days Weekend, local and regional re-enactors create an encampment on the museum’s grounds and demonstrate different techniques used by settlers to survive and be comfortable in early America. Sutlers, who were civilian merchants who sold provisions to soldiers in the field, in camp or in quarters, also will be on hand with historic and traditional-themed goods for sale.
Activities will run from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Visitors also are invited to tour two special exhibits at the museum. The History of Guns and Firearms shows the changes in guns from early wheel locks and flintlocks to the revolvers and repeating rifles used during the Civil War. A private collection of dolls and toys from the mid-1700s through 1800s is on display. The exhibit shows the changes in toys from simple handmade rag and yarn dolls to the mass market toys that evolved through the assembly line manufacturing of the Industrial Revolution.
All activities for the Civil War School Programs and Frontier Days Weekend are free. For more information, contact Elizabeth Williams, site manager at the Museum in the Park, at 304-792-7229.