Mention the southern city of Charleston and most people will think of South Carolina. But West Virginia features a Charleston too, and it happens to be the state capitol and the largest city in WV (not to be confused with another WV city called Charles Town). Home to a variety of exciting cultural and recreational attractions, it's a city well worth visiting. And, if you're into history you can't miss the Cultural Center near the State Capitol building.
As you enter the Center, you are greeted by its Great Hall, a beautiful space with marble walls and floors and crystal chandeliers. There is a theater behind the great hall which features dance, music, plays, film festivals, and many other types of events. The center also houses reference and archive libraries, and a wonderful State Museum which was constructed to showcase the Mountain State’s historic, artistic, and cultural heritage. The Museum was recently renovated, and what an amazing job they did! It is like something you might expect to find in Washington, D.C. The layout makes it a pleasure – you don’t wander around aimlessly, hoping to catch something interesting. No, they have it ingeniously laid out so that you follow along chronologically, taking in their self-guided exhibits at your own pace. It is a great way to experience some of the pivotal moments in West Virginia’s history.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this experience, and also pleasantly surprised to find out that my visit was free! The museum is open to the public January through December, most days except major holidays, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m.
I consider the State Museum at the West Virginia Cultural Center a must-see for anyone living or visiting the great state of West Virginia!