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This entry includes a virtual tour! Take the tour.

The Clarksburg History Museum contains one of Harrison County’s most significant collections of historical objects. The museum was founded in 2017 and has constantly expanded its space and holdings. It focuses primarily on the political, economic, and cultural history of the city of Clarksburg. Exhibits include a fossil room, military room, theater equipment, mining items, biographies of important Clarksburg natives, and many other topics. In addition to the historical displays, the Clarksburg History Museum also offers educational and cultural programming, as well as The Fiddlers Hands Gift Shop. The museum is located in the Harrison County Board of Education building. This entry features a virtual tour of the museum, perfect for experiencing the collection from home, or supplementing an in-person visit. At each stop on the entry, qualified and passionate individuals share their perspective on different collections within the museum.

The Clarksburg History Museum’s sign.

Motor vehicle, Font, Wood, Gas

Historical papers relating to the founding of Clarksburg.

Shelf, Shelving, Wood, Publication

An exhibit on the history of law enforcement and firefighters in Clarksburg.

Brown, Picture frame, Wood, Shelving

An organ from the early 1800s.

Musical instrument, Piano, Keyboard, Musical keyboard

Brewing and beverage equipment from a historic brewery.

Furniture, Cabinetry, Building, Drawer

A historic radar machine from the North Central West Virginia Airport.

Picture frame, Building, Wood, Gas

John W. Davis, the 1924 Democratic presidential nominee.

Picture frame, Photograph, Black, Interior design

The Fiddlers Hands Gift Shop.

Shelf, Shelving, Eyewear, Automotive design

The Clarksburg History Museum formed in 2017 thanks to the efforts of volunteers. The museum was initially a part of the Harrison County Historical Society before becoming an independent entity. The museum opened on the second floor of the Harrison County Board of Education building in November of 2018. The first exhibits honored local veterans and included artifacts from Clarksburg’s history. After less than a year on the second floor, the Clarksburg History Museum moved to the first floor of the building. This space is almost two and a half times the size of the previous space, allowing the museum more room to showcase its continually growing collection.

The Clarksburg History Museum includes a variety of items and artifacts spanning millions of years. The oldest things in the museum can be found in the Fossil Room, which encourages visitors to explore the area’s prehistoric beginnings. The formation of the city of Clarksburg is well documented in several displays. One case contains objects important to the founding of the city, such as the original flag and city charters. Another case honors the contributions of law enforcement and firefighters throughout Clarksburg’s history. Displays about the city’s trolleys and train systems cover historical transportation in and around the town. Finally, Clarksburg has been served by seven hospitals over the years, each of which is included in a medical exhibit.

A strength of the Clarksburg History Museum is the information and objects pertaining to industry and employment. A display by Dominion Energy celebrates the company’s history in the area, which is almost as old as Clarksburg itself. Dominion Energy has been a significant philanthropic force for Clarksburg. A well-established profession throughout Appalachia is coal mining, and a display in the museum features lamps, a lunchbox, and miners’ hats important to the trade. Clarksburg was also a major glass-producing center, particularly for marbles. Two exhibits showcase glass objects created in Clarksburg. Additionally, many Clarksburg natives pursued a career outside of the city by joining the army. A full room of military equipment and gear includes items from every American conflict since World War I.

The Clarksburg History Museum also commemorates the city’s cultural history. A number of exhibits explore the lives of famous Clarksburg natives. Perhaps the most famous resident is Civil War Confederate general Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. On the opposite side of the conflict was John S. Carlile, often called the father of West Virginia for his role in securing statehood for northern Virginia. John W. Davis was Democratic nominee for president in 1924, though he lost to Calvin Coolidge. Gray Barker, a science fiction writer who inspired the film “Men in Black” lived and worked in the city. Many other individuals are included in the museum. Other cultural exhibits include historical objects from the nearby Robinson Grand Theater and a room devoted to the history of education in the area.

In addition to historical exhibits, the Clarksburg History Museum also displays artwork by local artists and contains The Fiddlers Hand Gift Shop. Programming ranges from school field trip tours, to memorials and events dedicated to Clarksburg personalities like athlete Frank Loria. As the museum continues to expand and add new items to the collection, it is becoming an increasingly thorough cultural experience documenting the history of Clarksburg. Be sure to check out this entry's virtual tour, which features informational audio clips from the museum director, curators, and other relevant professionals.

About the Museum, Clarksburg History Museum. Accessed March 4th 2021. https://www.clarksburghistorymuseum.com/about-us.

Personal interview with Michael Spatafore, museum president. Conducted by Iain MacKay. March 2nd, 2021. 

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Clarksburg History Museum. Accessed March 4th, 2021. https://www.clarksburghistorymuseum.com/.

MacKay, Iain. 2021. Courtesy of author.

MacKay, Iain. 2021. Courtesy of author.

MacKay, Iain. 2021. Courtesy of author.

MacKay, Iain. 2021. Courtesy of author.

MacKay, Iain. 2021. Courtesy of author.

MacKay, Iain. 2021. Courtesy of author.

MacKay, Iain. 2021. Courtesy of author.