March 17, 2010
West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) Museum in Wheeling will present the West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive! character Rebecca Harding Davis, a 19th-century author from Wheeling, on Saturday, March 27, at 2 p.m. The program is timed to celebrate Women’s History Month. There will be a reception following the presentation. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
Debra Conner of Parkersburg will portray Davis in the program entitled “At the Borderlands: A Conversation with Rebecca Harding Davis.” One of the most important writers of her time, Davis, (1831-1910), became a sensation when her groundbreaking story Life in the Iron Mills appeared in The Atlantic magazine in April 1861. The story exposed the American public to the working conditions of mill workers in her hometown of Wheeling and brought her writing to the attention of such literary notables at Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathanial Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. Davis’ later works also addressed other social issues including greed, corruption, the oppression of immigrant workers, racism and the exploitation of women.
The History Alive! program brings historical characters to life through portrayals by presenters who have conducted scholarly research on their character. It provides a passport to the past for student and adult audiences in West Virginia. The presentations consist of three parts, beginning with a monologue in which the character introduces the historical, social and political issues of the era, followed by the character initiating a discussion with the audience, allowing time for questions, debate and disagreements with the character. The program wraps up with the presenter breaking character to answer questions as a researcher.
This West Virginia Humanities Council program is being hosted by WVIH and is supported with additional financial assistance from the Office of the Secretary, West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. The West Virginia Humanities Council is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing educational programs in the humanities for all West Virginians. For more than 30 years, the Council has been providing educational programs in the humanities across the state.
For more information, contact Travis Henline, site manager at WVIH, at (304) 238-1300 or e-mail him at [email protected]
West Virginia Independence Hall, originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Culture Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.