RAVENSWOOD – For the first time in many years, the Washington Western Lands Museum in Ravenswood is open for tours.
By partnering with a state program, Katrena Ramsey, superintendent of the Ravenswood Board of Parks and Recreation, was able to bring in a full-time museum employee who will sift through local artifacts and create exhibits to disseminate the history of the small town.
Faith Walker recently graduated from the University of Miami in Ohio and was selected for the museum position made possible by Preserve West Virginia and AmeriCorps. Walker’s grandfather is from the Ripleys, so coming to work in Jackson County comes full circle, she said.
âI was thinking about what I wanted to do after college, I’m not ready for college yet and wanted to do something of service, something really meaningful.
âI applied for the Peace Corps, but international affairs are a bit difficult with the pandemic, so I couldn’t find an internship there. “ Walker said.
Because of this, she applied to AmeriCorps and on a whim, researched history projects and found Preserve West Virginia, which serves to preserve history statewide.
âAt university, I majored in anthropology and art history and a minor in archeology and museology. In all of my studies, I have had internships, trainings and courses on all types of museum work. It was a really cool opportunity to do it all â, she said.
Currently, Walker focuses primarily on the management and security of collections. With new software, she will be able to take an inventory of the museum’s pieces and put them in reserve, if necessary. She also works to maintain the safety of the building by ensuring that it is up to code.
“We’re really trying to put things in place, and then once we get more stuff in the catalog hopefully this winter I’ll start doing research on curation and interpretation and (start) rearranging exhibitions. “ she said.
Walker plans to pursue a career in the museum industry and says she prefers working with local artifacts and pieces because each has an individual history and past.
âI have a very good support system of mentors and contacts that I have in the museum world. They are delighted that I am here and more than happy to help. It’s such a cool opportunity, especially at the start of my career because I’m really learning on the pitch.
Although not from the Ravenswood area, Walker has a personal connection to one of the exhibits in the museum, which hails from her hometown of Yellow Springs.
âI was digging into this business on my second day here and saw this quilt and just stopped to read the map and saw Yellow Springs. I saw that it was a gift from Mrs. Mary Morgan who was a very close friend of the family when I was young â, Walker said.
She also found another article donated by Ms Morgan and while she was not sure what Ms Morgan and Ravenswood were related to, Walker said she was eager to find out.
Ramsey said she was able to reapply for an AmeriCorps rep every year and she hopes Walker stays on as long as possible.
âShe has already given so much. Our museum is open, it has never been opened. He did not have coherent hours, he was only occupied by volunteers â, she said. âWe are trying to reorganize this museum, few small towns have museums. I think we have a pretty impressive collection for the size that we are.
Volunteers are needed to help Walker and Ramsey said she was working on an online system where people can choose times and dates to volunteer.
“I need people who can handle this and just keep an eye on things” Walker said.
The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, check out the museum on Facebook.
Candice Black can be contacted at [email protected]