Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Theresa Travels to the Nitro World War One Museum

This weekend, my family and I made an impromptu stop at the nearby Nitro World War 1 Museum, located in downtown Nitro at 2003 20th Street.  While this isn't a location that is haunted (to my knowledge) I wanted to include it in Theresa's Travels as a local historical resource!

With an interest in local history and a rudimentary knowledge of Nitro's important role in the First World War, we knew we would probably enjoy this museum---but nothing could prepare us for how awesome it really turned out to be!

We were warmly greeted by the lady behind the desk, who made sure to load my son up with plenty of FREE goodies, including small plastic soldiers, pencils, stickers, candy and historic literature. Okay, that last one was for me....but speaking of FREE, there was no charge for admission, only donations.

Our time was short, but we were able to spend a good hour browsing the outstanding collection of Nitro history. The main focus of the museum was Nitro's World War 1 years, when the whole town served as the location for a plant making nitrocellulose, the main ingredient in gunpowder. However, the museum, which was much bigger than I could have imagined, also included plenty of displays on Nitro's general history,  general military history, and even a section devoted to what life was like around the outbreak of the War to End All Wars.

In addition to the exhibits, there was a HUGE section of archival documents and research materials. I was in Heaven! One could easily spend hours browsing through all the historical artifacts, photographs, and hands-on (YES! Hands-on!) exhibits, but I could spend years looking through the old books, video clips, and newspaper archives. Even though we had somewhere to be, I couldn't tear myself away from the bound copies of The Kanawha Valley Leader newspaper, spanning several decades.

I thought my 8-year-old son would be kind of bored with a local history museum, but he seemed to have a great time. He was genuinely interested in many of the exhibits, and asked intelligent questions about what he was seeing. And of course, he LOVED the hands-on aspect. I think he and Aaron could have spent all day listening to the old record player set up in the section devoted to WW1 era home life or talking about what conditions were like in a WW1 trench.

I will obviously be returning to this little gem...multiple times...in the future. It makes for a great afternoon adventure, and is extremely family-friendly. However, I will be leaving the boy and the boyfriend at home next time, and camping out in the archive section! If there are any local paranormal investigators/researchers in this area and you are working a case in Nitro or the surrounding area, I HIGHLY recommend that you stop in here.  The staff is knowledgeable and passionate about history, and there are just so many great resources right at your fingertips. Of course, even if you aren't a paranormal researcher and just love history or want to know more about Nitro and its pivotal role in the war, definitely come check this place out! We are so lucky to have such an outstanding, well-organized museum such as this so close to home.

Nitro History Resources
Museum Website
Museum Facebook Page

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