Over the course of the past year, I’ve been commuting the seven hours between Matewan, WV and my home in Pittsburgh to work with a group of community members to develop and open a People’s History Museum. We're collaborating to preserve and share the story of an era of working class uprisings wiped from the majority of U.S. history books, and now we're crowd-funding to put the last pieces in place!
The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum teaches about the decade of large-scale, militant strikes by a cross-cultural, united front of diverse miners and their families seeking not only a union, but basic social justice. In 1921, these struggles culminated the largest armed insurrection of US citizens since the American Civil War. It’s a history that has been nearly buried for almost a century…
The museum itself is located at the site of the Battle of Matewan in 1920 (subject of John Sayles' excellent 1987 film Matewan). Thanks to an incredible group working on this museum, we have cataloged and will be exhibiting what is likely the largest collection of artifacts from the era!
This has been a dream project for me, and while incredibly challenging at times, we are building an independent museum that we are all very proud of. We’ve been working with grant funding, but there are still costs remaining to put the final pieces in place before the grand opening on May 16th.
Please check out our Indiegogo campaign, and support us if you can! Any amount helps, and it all adds up. In addition to preserving this history, there are also great perks for donating!
And please share the campaign with any of your friends and colleagues who you think might be interested! Together we’ll make sure that this inspirational piece of history gets its day!