Museums of Huntington Tour
This tour begins at Heritage Farm, the only Smithsonian Affiliate in West Virginia, and includes museums dedicated to science, medicine, history, and art.
The Huntington Museum of Art has been a point of civic pride for residents of Huntington for close to seven decades. It is widely recognized as the finest art museum in West Virginia and is the largest art museum within the central Appalachian region between Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Richmond. The museum is located among the spectacular hills above Ritter Park, on a beautiful 52-acre site where art and nature blend in harmony. Visitors are constantly impressed that such a small city could be home to such an exceptional collection and extraordinary facility that includes walking trails, outdoor sculpture gardens, a lecture hall, art library, and conservatory.
The Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society has a display of railroad artifacts, including lanterns, conductor uniforms, posters and more. A late 1800s-era hand car is on display as well. It was built for the C&O Railroad and featured in the movie Matewan, filmed in Thurmond, West Virginia. The Collis P. Huntington Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society was founded in 1959 and maintains a library along with indoor-outdoor museums. The outdoor museum is located at 14th Street West and Memorial Boulevard in Huntington, and is open by appointment.
This historic one-room schoolhouse, which houses the Ovie and Jesse Cline Museum, preserves the legacy of rural education in Appalachia. The building dates back to 1888, when it served as a schoolhouse for a rural part of Cabell County. It remained open until 1955, at a time when one-room schoolhouses across the county were closed in favor of larger, consolidated school systems. After being used as a storage shed for many years, the schoolhouse was relocated to the campus of Marshall University in 1995 thanks to the efforts of Paul Lutz, a History Department faculty member. The museum was named after the parents of Phil Cline, who attended and taught in one-room schools. The interior presents a recreation of a one-room schoolhouse, with Peabody-style desks, era-appropriate books, and a pot belly stove. The museum is open by appointment.
The Touma Medical Museum, once the private collection of Dr. Joseph Touma, was gifted to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University. The Museum features a large collection of historic medical books, tools and devices from the early days of medical practice. The 4,000 square-foot museum also includes a 1926 Model-T Ford and a buggy used by a physician in the early 1900s. The museum is best known for its historic pharmacy exhibit, collection of ear trumpets, and devices such as a foot-driven dental drill. The museum is located on the third floor of the historic Wright and Walker building, now called the Century Building, which was built in 1915 and was home to the Wright and Walker Clothier Company.
Maintained by many volunteers of the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, this open-air museum features a dozen historic railcars and one of the very last working steam locomotives ever built for a Class 1 railroad in the U.S. The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 1308 locomotive was built in 1949 by Baldwin Locomotive Works. This train was a specifically built as a 2-6-6-2s system and was the last one built in the series. The design of this locomotive was specifically crafted for a lightweight and agile look and feel to navigate through KY and WV for coal mining. This historic locomotive made it's very last run on February 29, 1956. It was officially added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2003.
The Museum of Radio and Technology is one of the largest antique radio museums in the nation. It was founded in 1991 and occupies a former elementary school on the outskirts of Huntington. The volunteer-run museum showcases a broad collection of radios from throughout the twentieth century, including a few functional pieces. It also includes displays of early televisions, computers, telephones, and other devices. It annually hosts various meetings and events for radio collectors and enthusiasts from around the region. The museum is also the location of the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame, honoring over 200 West Virginian broadcasting icons.
Located on a historic Appalachian farm, this living history complex features sixteen buildings and events throughout the year. Heritage Farm was made possible by the vision and hard work of Mike and Henriella Perry, a couple who dedicated much of their lives to developing the museum and supporting endeavors that preserve and recreate Appalachian history and culture. The Progress Museum, the Transportation Museum, and the Country Store Museum are the highlights of the complex and showcase the progression of technology through exhibits containing thousands of artifacts. Heritage Farm is open year-round with guided or self-guided tours, depending on the season. Additional features of the museum include overnight lodging, an Artisan Center, the MakerSpace craft center, reception halls, tractor rides, a petting zoo, cafe, and gift shop. Heritage Farm is the recipient of many state and national awards, and in 2015 became the first Smithsonian Affiliate in West Virginia.