WEIRTON - While many looked to the past in celebrating West Virginia's sesquicentennial Thursday, the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center peered into the future with a variety of activities for the youth of the community.
Craft stations, a photo booth and other events were set up for the dozens of children roaming around the museum's Main Street building, with some making West Virginia collages, others perusing the historical exhibits, and all of them digging into a special West Virginia-themed birthday cake.
The children sang "Happy Birthday," and the activities also included a visit from "Abraham Lincoln," who read the proclamation declaring West Virginia's statehood in 1863.
This was the first in a new series of children's events in development at the museum.
"I think it went amazingly well," Museum Children's Committee Chair Pam Makricosta said, noting the large crowd of youth looking over the exhibits, performing crafts and eating cake and cookies.
President Dennis Jones said the creation of an interactive children's area is among the long-term plans for the museum, along with an ongoing facade project and renovations to the building's second floor.
PLENTY OF FUN — A variety of crafts and other activities were available for area children Thursday at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center as part of local celebrations of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial. Additional photos from the event can be found online at cu.weirtondailytimes.com. -- Craig Howell
"The goal is to make our museum more friendly to children," Jones said. "This is the beginning of fulfilling that goal."
The effort has received assistance through grants from local charitable organizations, as well as through the efforts of the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights, who had named the museum as the beneficiary of its Mardi Gras fundraiser in 2012.
"We're just glad to have a part in all this," current Club President David Whalen said.
Dr. J.K. Luthra, who was president of the club in 2012, explained the event had raised $13,000 for the museum, and he is certain the children's programs will provide new opportunities for local kids to learn about the history of the area.
Those in attendance Thursday also were given the opportunity to sign a banner, which will be placed in a time capsule to be buried on Aug. 10 as part of a ceremony dedicating a historical marker to Cove School.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)