BY KAYCIE STUSHEK, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT NETWORK COORDINATOR, THE HUB
Learning from the past is why we study history. There are always lessons to be learned: from our failures, from our successes, and from the events that constantly happen around us. The Matewan Mine Wars Museum is striving to teach lessons learned from a part of history that is unknown to most of our country: the fight for human rights by miners at a time when miners’ rights were constantly being stripped away.
The Mine Wars Museum scored a big win in pursuit of this teaching goal, winning a grant of $6820 from the WV Humanities Council to continue providing the public with valuable educational experiences. While the grant will be distributed to address various needs of the museum, including the production of journals about museum events, the educational outreach program being funded by the grant is the source of a lot of excitement.
The “Mine Wars Education Outreach Initiative” is a program designed to teach students from grades 4 to 6, junior high school, and high school, about the Mine Wars. Each of these three age groups will have a curriculum designed to best teach them about this fight for basic human rights, as well as fun activities and other supplies that have been covered by the grant. Jack Seitz has already been signed on as the education outreach teacher, and the program is planned to start as soon as possible.
The Mine Wars Museum is working with a number of local entities to capitalize on the Mine Wars Education Outreach Initiative, including schools, individual community members, and the HubCAP team, a team of community members who came together as a part of WV Community Development Hub’s Communities of Achievement Program. The grant proposal and implementation has been a “complete team effort”, according to Wilma Steele, a Mine Wars Museum board member. “Lou wrote the grant, Katey is working with Jack on the curricula, I’m working with education partners in the community, Elijah is helping with research and writing, and Catherine is providing support and help launching the project… We wanted to make sure nobody felt overwhelmed,” describes Wilma.
Herbie Dotson, a member of the HubCAP team who will be working with Wilma Steele on the education outreach, mentioned how Matewan has had its fair share of difficulties, but how those difficulties can create positive and innovative change. “Matewan and the surrounding area offers picturesque landscapes coupled with rich history and incredible stories that we feel visitors to the area are interested in. We recognize these assets can help us build a new and sustainable industry based on history and adventure tourism, and museums are a key component to sharing our story with visitors to the area,” he says while talking about the importance of the grant to the community.
As can be seen, this grant from the WV Humanities Council is the result of another strong team effort by the Matewan Mine Wars Museum and the community. By using this program to teach students about the community’s history, Matewan is preparing children for the future.If you want to learn more about the Mine Wars Museum or have any questions, visit https://www.wvminewars.com/contact/.