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.
|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, https://commons.wikimedia.org|
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