Marion County Historical Society Museum

The artifacts at the Marion County Historical Society Museum in Fairmont, West Virginia, represent the town’s long and varied history: a compass used to survey colonial territory, Civil War artifacts, and postcards depicting the 1907 Fairmont Coal Company mining disaster at Monongah, the worst in U.S. history. Like many small museums and historical societies across the nation, the museum struggles with imperfect environmental conditions and has never fully cataloged or assessed its collection. Many items were damaged before they entered the collection.

The museum was featured in a local newspaper article in July 2005 and since that publicity has received numerous donations of time, money, and objects. With these donations, the museum is accumulating the resources it needs to inventory and catalog the collection, to apply for a conservation assessment, and to initiate other preservation projects. More publicity has been generated by local schoolchildren’s fund-raising projects to preserve objects in the museum’s collection. In this case, a little press has gone a long way in helping the Marion County Historical Society Museum preserve its hometown history.