Thursday, March 24, 2022

Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington WV


Those of you who are regular readers of mine, know that one of my favorite things to do is to explore small art museums when I travel. A recent drive through West Virginia brought me to a wonderful example in the town of Huntington.

Huntington WV sits on the banks of the Ohio River, in the northwestern corner of the state. It is home to around 45,000 residents and also to Marshall University. It was founded in 1873 as a hub for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad to serve as a link between Virginia and the Ohio River Valley. It has been also been home several steel plants.

Pullman Square - CC by-SA3.0 via wikicommons

As with many mid-western cities, Downtown Huntington suffered greatly in the period after 1970. However there have also been attempts to revitalize the area. Pullman Square, a shopping and cultural center, was built in 2004, and has been an anchor for the  growth of restaurants and shops in downtown. Nearby is Heritage Station, which is the location of the Visitor’s Information Center, and home to several restaurants and shops.

Heritage Station

Elk River Coal & Lumber #10

The reason for my visit to Huntington was to see the Huntington Museum of Art. The Museum was created in 1947 by bequests from the estates of Herbert Fitzpatrick, VP of C&O RR and Rufus Switzer, mayor of Huntington. Together these provided the physical grounds for the museum and the seed money for its construction. Huntington Galleries opened in 1952 with a collection donated by several West Virginia industrialists. In 1970, the museum expanded, building a new wing designed by Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius.

Walter Gropius by By Louis Held - Public Domain,

The Huntington Museum of Art holds several excellent permanent collections. Their holding of glassware reflects West Virginia’s history as a producer of high-end glassware.

Flasks attributed to Louisville Galssworks

Vase by Verrerie d'Art Degué (l) and Bowl by Camille Tutre de Varreaux (r)

Moon over West Virginia by Kelsey Murphy

There is also a collection of works by American artists, spanning from the 1700’s to contemporary times. It covers several genres, but concentrates on paintings.

View of Mill at Wolf Creek by Sala Bosworth

Steam Boat by Vernon Howell

Flood in the Ohio Valley by Harvey Pruschek

Mrs. Samuel Prescott Hidreth and Harriet Eliza Hidreth by Sala Bosworth

The Pottery Artist by Enoch Wood Perry

The Family Meal by Elizabeth Nourse

Stone Drum by Hung Liu

Freedom March by Melvin (M.A.) Booth

Awakenings by Alan Feltus

Under the Wave at Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai

Stierkampf by Gerhard Marcks

Crucifixion by Paul Gauguin

The Drs. Joseph and Omayra Touma gallery off Near Eastern Art presents works from Iran and the Middle East. Prayer rugs, lamps and tile work are highlighted here.

Prayer Rug - Turkey 19th Century

Mosque Lamp - Europe, 20th Century

Finally, the museum has a plant conservatory. Built in 1996, it is the only conservatory in the state of West Virginia. It contains over one hundred varieties of orchids, as well as many agriculturally important plants.

One thing that makes museums in small cities great is the amount of outreach and educational programs they run, Huntington has classes for children and adults, a summer camp, artists workshops, and even classes on horticulture.

The Huntington Museum of Art is a great place to visit. It offers amazing artwork and is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours.

Nuts and Bolts:

  • The Huntington Museum of Art is located at 2033 McCoy Road, Huntington WV.
  • The museum is open Tues - 10 AM - 8 PM; Wed - Sat 10 AM - 5 PM; Sun 12 noon - 5 PM.
  • Admission is $5 for adults, and free for veterans, active duty members and their families, and for children

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Art Museum at West Virginia University

Photo via


On my way to Lexington KY, I decided to stop in Morgantown, in order to visit West Virginia University. It is not a place that many people just happen to find, but it is beautiful part of the country, and worth the trip.

WVU Mountaineer

Morgantown sits along the Monongahela River in a valley between ridges of the Allegheny mountains. While there is some small industry, the University is the city’s primary business. Morgantown was founded in 1772 by brothers Zachquill and David Morgan. It was positioned at a great spot, because the Monongahela is completely navigable up to the point it joins with the Allegheny to form the Ohio River. West Virginia was made a state in 1863, because the residents in this area did not agree with Virginia’s decision to join the Confederate States. In 1867, the state legislature created a land-grant university and established it on the site of three schools in Morgantown. One year later this was renamed as West Virginia University.

In 1870, WVU started construction of Martin Hall, the first hall built for the new school. It was constructed on what would become Woodburn Circle, and this is where you will find the oldest buildings on campus - Martin Hall, Woodburn Hall, and Chitwood Hall.

Woodburn Hall

Martin Hall

Chitwood Hall

Across the street is the Mountainlair, WVU’s student center, which was built in 1968. Next door to the Lair is Stewart Hall, the original Library for the campus.


Stewart Hall

The reason for my visit to Morgantown was the see the WVU Art Museum. It is located on the Evansdale Campus, about two miles from Downtown campus. The museum has four galleries and offers exhibits of both local and national artists. This spring, they are hosting several excellent shows. One is From the Mountain: Malcom David and the Art of Shino. Malcom Davis (1937-2011) was a world renowned ceramicist. Who developed his style of Shino. - a traditional Japanese-style glaze.





The second main exhibit is True Colors: Picturing Identity. This show is composed of works from the collection of James Cottrell and Joseph Lovett. There are paintings and sculptures by Andy Warhol. Keith Haring, and Deborah Kass, among others. The show is an exploration of the ways contemporary artists use the human figure to explore and express diverse aspects of “identity.”


Nee Nee in Braddock by Swoon

Judy Blume by David Hockney

Untitled by Keith Haring

How do I Look? by Deborah Kass

The two other galleries are offering exhibits of wood cuts by Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) and Cubist painting by Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956).

Noble Lady by Louise Nevelson

Jungle Figures by Louise Nevelson

Abstract Tempora No. IV by Blanche Lazzell

Shell by Balnche Lazzell

The WVU Art Museum offers an excellent collection of contemporary art, and is worth a visit when you are in the Morgantown area.

Nuts and Bolts:

  • Art Museum of West Virginia University is located at 20 Fine Arts Drive, Morgantown WV
  • Open Thur. - Sun. 12:30 PM - 6:00 PM. Admission is free at all times.
  • Parking: Use short term lot 1 ($0.50/Hour) or 9 ($1.25/hr). Both lots are free after 4PM and on weekends