Have you ever thought, “There really should be a Wheeling History Museum!” Well, the Wheeling National Heritage Area is working with a broad group of local residents to make this a reality. We need your help! Building a comprehensive history museum and archive will be a long journey, but it starts with your helping us know your interests and opinions.
Wheeling is unique in its direct connection with every major facet of American history and beyond. The Friendly City has a multitude of stories waiting for their moment in the sun. Wheeling National Heritage Area is looking into a way to bring those stories to life. By taking a few minutes to fill out the survey linked below, you can give us important information to get the ball rolling on creating a Wheeling History Museum. You can help us work toward preserving and interpreting Wheeling’s rich identity for generations to come!
We asked the following question: “Why do you feel Wheeling needs a museum?” The responses we receive are as varied as the individuals answering.
Noting that Wheeling lacks a dedicated space to display its full story, historian Margaret Brennan said, “There is no question that a downtown Wheeling History Museum will be an asset to the community and the valley. We need a place where we can tell the history of our ancestors and those who came before us. A place to bring together, in an organized fashion, all the threads of Wheeling’s history.”
The museum experience is very important to visitors of any age, and it can even be an informative event for younger visitors. Jeanne Finstein, president of Friends of Wheeling says, “Museums serve as evidence of our past, reminding us of the lives of our ancestors and of their successes and failures. Without museums, knowledge and appreciation of the past will be lost to future generations, denying them a firm grounding for the development of their own life stories.”
By providing a location where children and families, as well as researchers, can interact with the story of Wheeling firsthand, we spread the notion of what Wheeling is, and at the same time we spread the pride that comes with living in such an instrumental place.
In certain ways, Wheeling’s story is being told, piece-by-piece, around the city, country, and world. While this means that much of Wheeling’s story remains intact, many of those pockets are inaccessible to someone wanting to learn about our city. A Wheeling History Museum will provide a place to connect those dots while interpreting the Friendly City for a variety of audiences.
Lawrence Bandi, principal at Central Catholic High School said, “Wheeling has a rich history of Manufacturing, Architecture, Artists, Entrepreneurs, Musicians, Educators, Philanthropists of noteworthy distinction. We are blessed to have preserved an interpretive history, but these heirlooms, papers and books are not readily available to the general public. I support a relevant and interactive museum done in proper scale to present our Wheeling Heritage for future generations.”
By bringing the objects, documents, and artifacts together and allowing them to speak for themselves, we can see Wheeling as a city worthy of national recognition, a place where heritages from across the world came together for the promise of a better life, and somewhere you can be proud to call home.
The journey to create a Wheeling History Museum isn’t going to be short, but it’s very important to allow your voice to be heard along the way. There will be many opportunities to speak your mind, lend a helping hand, or simply offer encouragement. Every journey starts with a first step, and here is how you can start! Please follow the link below and let us know what you feel is important, what you want to see, and how you feel we can best move forward now that the journey is under way.
- If you are interested in preserving Wheeling’s heritage or participating in the Wheeling history museum project further, please contact Beth at TheMuseumBeth@gmail.com.