Executive Director Position Open

The Greenbrier Historical Society Seal

The Greenbrier Historical Society is searching for a dynamic leader with business acumen as well as a passion for history, historical preservation, and community outreach. The Executive Director will develop, plan, manage and carry-out operations of the Greenbrier Historical Society including all its buildings and functions.

The Greenbrier Historical Society is a non-profit organization, whose mission is to collect, preserve, protect and exhibit historical materials and objects, provide educational experiences and activities, and support historical inquiry and research.

The full position description can be requested from the Greenbrier Historical Society or found on their website: http://society.greenbrierhistorical.org/index.php/career

Interested applicants may forward resumes to: pbhanna@yahoo.com or call 304-647-6029 for more information.

2014 Holiday Open House & Home Tour

GHS Kicks Off Christmas with a New Exhibit & Holiday Home Tour

The Greenbrier Historical Society invites everyone to visit the North House Museum during the Holiday Open House in Lewisburg on Sunday, November 23, 2014 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Have you ever wondered about the real history of Santa Claus, or why we have Christmas trees? Or why we give gifts, such as teddy bears, on Christmas morning? If so, come and see Becoming Christmas, a new exhibit about the evolution of Christmas through the ages, and the history of many of our favorite Christmas traditions. The exhibit will feature Sue Tuckwiller McKinney’s antique teddy bears, dolls and accessories. And there will be new items and great deals in our Star Tavern Gift Shop, located within the North House.

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Greenbrier Historical Society will also host a holiday tour at the Second North House, the current home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hanna at 200 South Lafayette Street with festive holiday decorations provided by four Lewisburg Garden Clubs.  The home will be open between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Admission is $10.00 per person. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the North House or at the door.

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A reading and presentation of the classic poem The Night Before Christmas at the Second North House (200 South Lafayette Street) will begin at 5:00 pm. A limited number of tickets will be available in advance for $10.00 per person or $20.00 per family.

The Greenbrier Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of the Greenbrier Valley. Located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, WV, the Greenbrier Historical Society is regularly open free of charge Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. For more information, contact us at 304.645.3398 or info@greenbrierhistorical.org.

2014 Holiday Open House Poster

Join Us for a “Stellar” Evening

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As the holiday season fast approaches, the Greenbrier Historical Society invites everyone to join us for the 14th Annual Stellar Evening fundraiser on Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 7 to 10pm!
You do not want to miss out on this “stellar” event! The evening will begin at 7pm with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the Lewisburg Elks Country Club, located on Route 219 North in Lewisburg. A delicious plated dinner courtesy of TLP will be served at 8pm. Guests will have the choice between a tender Roast Beef with
herbs and garlic or a vegetarian rigatoni with tomatoes and feta cheese.

IMG_0322After dinner, break out those dancing shoes! Musical entertainment will be provided by Trio Grand.  The band was formed in 1998 to play in the Greenbrier Hotel’s Old White Lounge and has since matured into one of the area’s premier variety combos.  The Greenbrier Historical Society will also hold our Stellar Evening Silent IMG_0263Auction, with great items generously donated by local businesses and individuals.

Tickets for Stellar Evening are $75 per guest. Advance tickets only. RSVP by November 20th.  Contact GHS at 304.645.3398 or info@greenbrierhistorical.org for more information.  All proceeds from Stellar Evening benefit the Greenbrier Historical Society.

2014 NIP Tax Credits Available

The Greenbrier Historical Society Seal

The Greenbrier Historical Society received $6,000 in Neighborhood Investment Program (NIP) tax credits from the West Virginia Development Office to be distributed to individuals and businesses now through March 2015.  NIP was established by the West Virginia State Legislature in 1996 to increase charitable giving to local nonprofit organizations, thus increasing their capacity to serve low-income individuals and communities.

NIP contributions assist the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) with much of its free and low cost programming. In 2013, nearly 3,500 visitors participated in the free guided tours of the North House Museum or free research assistance in the Archives & Library. The North House Museum & Archives, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, is open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

The Greenbrier Historical Society also offers free educational programs to local Greenbrier Valley schools and youth groups. These programs can either be held on-site at the North House or in the classroom. With the assistance of NIP contributions, GHS was able to offer educational programs to over 1,000 students in Greenbrier and Monroe Counties in the 2013-2014 school year, with many of those programs taking place at the North House.

The Greenbrier Historical Society tries to make history interesting and relevant through a variety of programming, exhibits, and special events for all ages. The NIP program provides a great way for organizations, such as the Greenbrier Historical Society, raise funds to support this programming.

Business and individuals who contribute to the NIP program at the Greenbrier Historical Society are eligible to receive up to 50 percent of the contributed amount in the form of West Virginia tax credits. These credits can be used on Personal Income Taxes, Corporate Net Income Taxes, or Business Franchise Taxes. The full amount of the contribution is also eligible for a charitable contribution deduction on the individual’s or business’s Federal Taxes.

The minimum contribution to receive NIP credits is $500, and the NIP credits received by the Greenbrier Historical Society will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis until they have all gone. For more information on the NIP tax credits or to make a contribution, please contact the Greenbrier Historical Society at 304.645.3398 or director@greenbrierhistorical.org.

Closed for Taste of Our Town on October 11th

The Greenbrier Historical Society will be closed this Saturday, October 11th, 2014 for the Taste of our Town (TOOT) festival in downtown Lewisburg. We will resume normal hours on Monday, October 13th, and will be open for Columbus Day. We apologize for any inconvience. If you would like to make a special appointment, please call GHS at 304.645.3398 or email us at info@greenbrierhistorical.org. Thank you!

Tombstone Tours in Lewisburg

Join the Greenbrier Historical Society for a historic tour of the Downtown Lewisburg cemeteries on Friday, October 10th and Friday, October 24th 2014 at 5:00pm. The tour will discuss a few of the famous and infamous individuals buried in the cemeteries, as well as our area’s sometimes bloody history. All ages are welcome. Children under 10 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Additional tours can also be scheduled upon request for a larger group or class.

The Tombstone Tours will leave from the North House, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, promptly at 5:00pm. We suggest that you arrive a few minutes early to pick up your tickets. Ticket price: “Pay What You Can”

All proceeds benefit the Greenbrier Historical Society’s North House Museum & Archives. For more information, visit society.greenbrierhistorical.org or contact GHS at 304.645.3398 or info@greenbrierhistorical.org.

Invisible Roots and Legends Exhibit Opening This Week

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The exhibit “Invisible Roots and Legends: A Photographic View of African American History in Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia” will be held at the Cooper Gallery, 122 East Washington Street, Lewisburg, WV from September 20 to October 4, 2014.  The exhibit will begin with an opening reception from 5-8 on this Saturday, September 20 and be available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 11-5 and Fridays from 11-6.

This exhibit has received tremendous interest and support from people all over the country.  Exhibit Curator Janice Cooley said, “I talked with Kalonji “Butch” Mwanza, once a resident of Leslie, WV and who now lives in New Mexico. He is excited that we are doing this.  I have also spoken with many past residents of Greenbrier County, in Ohio, Michigan and other places, who are glad this is being done.”

 Carol Haynes, noted historian of local African American genealogy, has been asked to attend the opening reception.

The exhibit will consist of a collection of photographs and artifacts, from post-civil war to today, of African Americans who have contributed to the growth and development of this area in business, religion, education, sports, politics, and entertainment as well as general family life. It will also highlight a few individuals who were born and raised in Greenbrier County, left the area and are making significant impact in various areas such as the U.S. Government, the Arts, etc.

The exhibit is free to the public and the photographs, many of which have been donated just for this exhibit, are not for sale.

 In addition, on Friday, September 26, from 6-8, Exhibit Curator Janice Cooley and Greenbrier Historical Society Archivist Jim Talbert will co-host a round table discussion of an in-depth history of Greenbrier County and African Americans in the Greenbrier Valley. 

Cooley said, “I hope to build on the content of this exhibit, with the help of the community and those who come to see it, and to present a larger exhibit in 2016.  In addition to the Greenbrier Historical Society, Carnegie Hall has expressed an interest in partnering through the use of their exhibit space and perhaps adding some performance events.”

Item of the Week – Registry of Free People of Color

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Item of the Week: September 12, 2014
This ledger is a Registry of the Free People of Color in Greenbrier County, West Virginia from 1846-1864. Discovered among the documents in the Court House Collection, this ledger contains the names and descriptions of free African American individuals residing in Greenbrier County.

Excerpts from the Registry will be on display in the upcoming exhibit “Invisible Roots and Legends: A Photographic View of African Americans in the Greenbrier Valley, WV” which opens at the Cooper Gallery in Lewisburg on September 20th. The original ledger can be viewed in the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Archives and transcriptions of the register are available for purchase.

 

Blue Sulphur Springs: Three Generations of Care

Dustin Sears uses a weed eater to trim grass at the Blue Sulphur Spring pavilion.

Dustin Sears uses a weed eater to trim grass at the Blue Sulphur Spring pavilion.

When someone does something for which they receive little or no compensation, it is often referred to as a “labor of love.”  That is certainly the case for the Sears family who has been mowing the grass, bush hogging the rough areas, and weed eating the fence row at the Blue Sulphur Spring pavilion this summer.

Three generations of the Sears family—Larry, Brad, and Dustin—have been working hard to keep up with the grass.  They had a bit of a break in July when the weather was unusually dry but are making up for it now as Mother Nature seems to think it is spring.

Dustin said, “We went all out for the 4th of July.  We trimmed everything!” Grandfather Larry reminded him to look out for snakes as he used the weed eater.

Friends of the Blue Committee Chair Alex McLaughlin said, “We are really grateful to the Sears family for their work this summer.  It helps all of us to imagine how the Blue will look when it is finally restored.”

The restoration of the Blue is an on-going project of the Greenbrier Historical Society and donations are needed to further the work.  While all possible grants will be applied for, most grants require a 50% match and so private contributions are very much needed.  To support the Blue, tax-deductible contributions can be made to the Greenbrier Historical Society or “like” Blue Sulphur Springs on face book and donate with a credit card or paypal account.

Invisible Roots and Legends: African American Religious Traditions

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A Sunday School class at Shiloh Baptist Church in Alderson, WV built in 1879.

Enslaved Africans transported to the New World beginning in the fifteenth century brought with them a wide range of local religious beliefs and practices.   In a world turned upside down, these slaves clung to some semblance of normality through the religions they knew.

Over time many converted to Christianity, making it their own by combining it with their remembered traditions, beliefs, and practices.  Prior to emancipation, African Americans organized their own “invisible institution” in the slave quarters and inside family homes.  It was here that the spirituals, with their double meanings of religious salvation and freedom from slavery, developed and flourished.

After emancipation, more recognizable and formal churches were possible.  One such church is Shiloh Baptist Church in Alderson, WV which was built in 1879 specifically for African Americans.  Others include John Wesley Methodist Church and Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Lewisburg each of which have unique and illustrious histories.

These churches and several others in the Greenbrier Valley became a place of refuge for African Americans where they were free to worship and socialize and build a community of strength as Christians.   They continue to be a main focal point in the community for African Americans.

Mrs. Opal Jones, long time member of Shiloh Baptist Church in Alderson, said, “The churches in the Greenbrier Valley were very important.  Church was the first avenue, besides home, where you received instruction on how to conduct yourself, your manners, and how to treat others.  It was a primary source of socialization and education.  Black teachers were usually Sunday School teachers and had added influence on the children’s learning.”

African American religious life in the Greenbrier Valley will be one of the tracks of the exhibit “Invisible Roots and Legends: A Photographic View of African American History in Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia” which will be held at the Cooper Gallery, 122 East Washington Street, Lewisburg, WV from September 20 to October 4, 2014.  The exhibit will begin with an opening reception from 5-8 on Saturday, September 20 and be available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 11-5 and Fridays from 11-6.  It will consist of a collection of photographs and artifacts, from post-civil war to today, of African Americans who have contributed to the growth and development of this area in business, religion, education, sports, politics, and entertainment as well as general family life.  The exhibit is free to the public and the photographs, many of which have been donated just for this exhibit, are not for sale.

On Friday, September 26, from 6-8, Exhibit Curator Janice Cooley and Greenbrier Historical Society Archivist Jim Talbert will co-host a round table discussion of more in-depth history of African Americans in the Greenbrier Valley.