EDITORIAL: A home for our history
July 05--History buffs and residents along the Ohio River were devastated Sunday afternoon to hear the news that a fire had broken out in the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center in Mason County, West Virginia.
Opened in 2003, the facility is is home to a vast collection, which notably includes artifacts of the 1968 collapse of the Silver Bridge disaster, which showcases life on the Ohio River from pioneer times to the present.
The museum has been a gem for the region and a labor of love for its director, Jack Fowler, administrative assistant Ruth Fout and coordinator Martha Fout. The staff's passion for history was evident in every inch of the building and its displays and they have been a valuable source for writers and researchers through our area.
Crews from multiple departments in West Virginia and Ohio responded to the blaze and, battling the fire on a hot July day, were able to extinguish it by evening.
Fortunately, firefighters, taking care to protect the irreplaceable contents of the building, were able to save a good deal of the building's exhibits. By evening, many had been removed from the building by volunteers, while the museum's sizeable aquarium was being hooked up to a generator to sustain its fish.
Our region owes a great thanks to the crews who responded to this fire. They have saved items, many donated by families throughout the area, from being forever lost.
It is our hope that the museum can recover and reopen and that communities, not just in Point Pleasant, will rally in support to preserve the hard work of Fowler and staff,to ensure this history is preserved for future generations.