BUCKHANNON—This Friday, October 6, at 6:30pm, the West Virginia Humanities Council and West Virginia Wesleyan College will commemorate the launch of the Council’s new traveling exhibition, Born of Rebellion: West Virginia Statehood and the Civil War. A reception will be held at the college’s Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library on campus, accompanied by light refreshments. Attendees will be able to tour the exhibition during and after the reception. The event is free and open to the public, no RSVP required.
The short reception will feature remarks by former Wesleyan history professor Dr. Stephen Cresswell, who taught at the college for several decades. Cresswell edited the published edition of We Will Know What War Is, the Civil War diary of Upshur County teenager Sirene Bunten, which was published by the college in 1993. The diary and other Bunten artifacts are preserved in the college library’s special collections.
“Sirene Bunten’s diary was so helpful in the development of Born of Rebellion,” says Council program officer Kyle Warmack. “We wanted to ground the complicated events of the Civil War in the perspectives of everyday West Virginians, and what is more relatable than the reflections of a teenage girl who is witnessing all of this uncertainty and danger around her?” Warmack adds that the diary’s publication highlights the important work of historians like Cresswell and oft-overlooked preservation efforts of university libraries.
Also featured during the October 6 event will be a screening of the 1977 short film, For Liberty and Union, originally produced for West Virginia Independence Hall. “It’s quite a time capsule,” says Warmack. “Viewing the film five decades later showcases how our understanding of history and ourselves is always evolving—both through continual new research, and the interpretation of that research.”
After its debut in Buckhannon, the exhibit will move on to Morgantown, Wheeling, and other locations throughout 2023 and 2024. For more information about Born of Rebellion, visit www.wvhumanities.org and click “Traveling Exhibits” under the Programs menu. The exhibit will be on display until November 2 at the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, located at 59 College Ave. Buckhannon, WV 26201, on the West Virginia Wesleyan College campus. Call (304) 473-8013 or email email@example.com for hours and visitor information.