Folklife Center to Host "The 35th Star: West Virginia Statehood"

Friday, February 22, 2013

WVHCThe Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the shared main campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College will host a special presentation in March as part of its Folk Cultural Series.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3, Joe Geiger, Director of the Archives and History Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, will present “The 35th Star: West Virginia Statehood,” a program of the Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

“The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is honored to host this dynamic event, which is one way we can salute our state’s rich history and Sesquicentennial,” said Dr. Judy P. Byers, Director of the Folklife Center.

Admission to the event, which will take place at the Folklife Center, is free and open to the public. After the presentation, those who attend will have the opportunity to meet Geiger and to enjoy a reception featuring light refreshments and “old-time music” by the Kennedy Barn String Band.

Visitors will be invited to tour the Folklife Center and to view a traveling exhibit “John Henry: The Steel Drivin’ Man” that will be on display at the Center through April, courtesy of the West Virginia Humanities Council. The exhibit tells the legend of the strong African-American worker who won a contest against a steam-powered drill during the railroad-building era of the late 19th century.

Since 1998, Joe Geiger has worked for West Virginia Archives and History, serving as historian, webmaster, assistant director and acting director, before being named director in January 2009. As the director, Geiger serves as West Virginia’s State Archivist and State Historian, and is responsible for preserving West Virginia’s history. For the past 15 years, he also has served as an adjunct professor in the history department at Marshall University.

Geiger received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing and a master’s degree in history from Marshall University, where he was the Blake Scholar for two years. He has published numerous scholarly articles and two books, “Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia, 1861-1865,” and “Holding the Line: The Battle of Allegheny Mountain and the Confederate Defense of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, 1861-62” published in 2012.

In addition, Geiger is the vice-chair of the Commission on Archives and History for the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, is vice-president of the West Virginia Methodist Historical Society and a member of the Mining Your History Foundation. He serves as secretary for the West Virginia Historical Society.