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Youth Museum Overview
|Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia
No matter what time of year you visit Beckley, West Virginia, you will find many scenic, cultural, and recreational opportunities awaiting you. Two of the most unique attractions are the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia. These two popular institutions officially joined April 1, 2002, in an effort to portray the history, culture and character of this uncommon coal-mining region.
As the focal points of the City’s lovely New River Park, the Exhibition Coal Mine and the Youth Museum draw thousands of people to the area annually. The unique underground mine, the recreated coal camp, the Youth Museum and their Mountain Homestead are surrounded by inviting lawns, colorful flowers, picnic areas, an imposing coal miner statue and a whimsical 20 ft. “Peace Totem”.
Located just footsteps away from the Exhibition Coal Mine, the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia is open to the public year round and available at any time for pre-arranged tour groups.
The Youth Museum’s main gallery is made up of four railroad boxcars. The central exhibit area features an average of three different exhibits yearly. Designed to entertain as well as educate, the exhibits range from “T-Rex”, “Bats”, and “Artist in the Studio” to “Page after Page”, an award winning children’s authors presentation.
Group tours include a visit to the Museum’s Planetarium. Seasonal programs highlight constellations, visible planets and special celestial events.
Behind the Museum’s main building, stands the Mountain Homestead. Developed to enrich history studies, the Museum has recreated a typical settlement on the Appalachian frontier.
Trained interpreters explain the importance of each reconstructed historical building. Visit the weaver’s shed – complete with loom and spinning wheels. In the two-story log house, groups listen as the guide explains the many interesting artifacts and antiques made and used by the rugged individuals that settled this region. Step back in time as you enter the one room school and experience “readin’, writin’, and rithmetic’” as it used to be. The barn, blacksmith shop, and general store all help to complete this rich historical journey of the late 19th century.
In 2000, the Youth Museum was awarded the prestigious Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Museum Service Award. The award was presented in Washington D.C. by President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton and was given in recognition of the Museum’s vital community outreach programs.
One price encompasses all activities at both the Exhibition Mine and the Youth Museum during the summer months. Group rates are available. Reservations are required. May, June and October dates fill quickly; so reserve early to avoid disappointment.
The complex is located just 2 ½ miles from the Exit 44 exit of Interstate 77/64. Turn east on Rt. 3 (Harper Rd.) Go 1 1/2 miles to Ewart Ave. Make a left on Ewart Ave. and go 1 mile to the Mine Complex entrance. Call (304) 256-1747 for reservations.
Both the Exhibition Coal Mine and the Youth Museum have gift shops offering unique coal figurines, homemade fudge, traditional and educational toys, local crafts, and books.
The Youth Museum offers a rewarding and educational experience for people of all ages and interests. Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Southern West Virginia, we encourage everyone to come and visit all the Mine, the Museum, and our community has to offer!
Summer Hours: April 1 - November 1
Daily 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Winter Hours: November 2 - March 31
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday - Saturday
** Extended hours available by appointment for group tours and special events. Planetarium presentations are reserved for pre-arranged groups of ten or more. Mountain Homestead tours limited in the winter months due to weather.
** The Youth Museum welcomes visitors with disabilities. Please let us know in advance if you or anyone in your party requires special accommodations and we will gladly make them.
** If you have scheduled a group tour and less than the required 10 people arrive, regular admission fees will apply.
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Many of the exhibits and classes are funded in part by the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.