The Shinnston News & Harrison County Journal has named Crystal Wimer as April’s Citizen of the Month, a program sponsored by Dorsey Funeral Home in Shinnston – locally owned & operated.
By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
The path for Crystal Wimer to arrive in Harrison County was not a straight one. In fact, it meandered through several counties, schools and even historical periods before it allowed her to settle into her current role with the Harrison County West Virginia Historical Society.
A native of Keyser, West Virginia, Wimer grew up in a home of teachers. The experience taught her to have a deep love of knowledge and to be a lifetime learner, even outside the classroom. While in high school, she immersed herself in the arts, academics and community service, enabling her to attend Potomac State College with scholarships from the Tony Whitmore Endowment and the American Legion. She also received the Mauzy-Harris History Award, which may have been foreshadowing for her job in Harrison County.
After graduating from Potomac State with an Associate of Arts degree, she transferred to WVU to earn her Bachelor of Arts in history, with a minor in political science. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2005 and was granted the Sallie Poole Wilkins Award and the Ruth Hale Canaga Memorial Fellowship. From there, she earned a graduate degree in public history.
While in graduate school, Wimer gained experience working with several small museums including the International Mother’s Day Shrine, the Cook-Hayman Pharmacy Museum at WVU and researching New Deal projects in Gilmer County, where she mounted an exhibit on the impact of the New Deal on the area.
After substitute teaching for a while, she found her calling by joining Preserve WV Americorps. In 2015, her second year of service with the program, Wimer was sent to the Harrison County WV Historical Society where her jobs vary greatly.
“I catalog and scan the archive and museum collection, write grants, develop and mount exhibits, teach workshops and train volunteers,” said Wimer.
Among her many accomplishments, Wimer wrote a winning development grant from the WV State Historic Preservation Office for the Stealey-Goff-Vance House. She also developed a better collections management policy for artifact preservation. Her service with the Harrison County WV Historical Society led to her being named a 2016 History Hero, where she was honored in a ceremony in Charleston in January.
Having dedicated 20 years to community theater and the arts, Wimer now channels that creativity into efforts to preserve the past and keep it alive for future generations. Her unique approach has truly been an asset to Harrison County WV Historical Society and has inspired countless others to delve deeper into the history of this area.