Marion County Historical Society and Museum
The Marion County Historical Society, Inc. was founded in 1908. The Society is dedicated to preserving the local history of Fairmont and Marion County. Today, Marion County Historical Society operates a local history museum and Prickett’s Fort, a living history museum.
Backstory and Context
The Marion County Historical Society was founded by Bernard Lee Butcher (1853-1918), who was the State Superintendent of Schools in 1880. He founded the society because of his interest in genealogy. Butcher published his first major work, A Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, in 1912.
In 1986, the Marion County Commission donated the former home of county sheriffs, built around 1912, to the Society to use as a museum. The new Marion County Historical Society and Museum opened its doors to the public on Labor Day, 1986. Different rooms throughout the historical home represent different eras in American history. Collections include artifacts related to Marion County history and West Virginia history, including exhibits on the Civil War, Revolutionary War, Black history in West Virginia, and the history of the coal and glass industry in the state. One of the most popular attractions at the museum—especially for young schoolchildren—is the sheriff’s office and jail which are housed in the museum. The Marion County Historical Society also contibutes to the nearby Prickett’s Fort living history museum, which aims to preserve and exhibit the past.