Belmont County Heritage Museum opens its doors for 2024 season

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Heritage Museum is officially open for the 2024 season.

Originally built in 1890, the former Belmont County Sheriff’s Residence has been operating as a museum since its restoration in 2014 and has multiple rotating exhibits each season. It is run by the Belmont County Tourism Council; admission to the museum is free, but donations are encouraged.

The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday from April through November.

According to information provided by the tourism council, each month this spring and summer will feature a different exhibit showcasing an array of Belmont County lore. May’s exhibit will be Belmont County-themed photography presented by the Ohio Valley Photography Club. June’s exhibit will highlight a Civil War sword belonging to St. Clairsville native Col. James Charlesworth.

July’s exhibit will focus on “Belmont County’s Hollywood history.” At 6 p.m. July 18, local historian Dan Frizzi Jr. will present “Thanks for the Memories — Bob Hope in Bellaire” about Hope’s 1951 visit to Bellaire to promote the movie “My Favorite Spy.” August’s exhibit will be the Great Circle Alliance’s touring exhibition “Mounds, Moon & Stars: The Legacy of Ohio’s Magnificent Earthworks.”

The first exhibit of the 2024 season that is going on now through April is “Beneath the Surface: the Willow Grove Mine Disaster.”

This exhibit, “honors the brave 72 men that lost their lives in the 1940 mine explosion,” according to a release from the tourism council.

Displays include mining equipment, artifacts and photos. At 6 p.m. April 18, United Mine Workers of America members will speak about their efforts to preserve and memorialize the Willow Grove Mine site. There will also be a screening of the new documentary “The Mine Disaster at Willow Grove” that includes interviews of one of the last living survivors, Walter Moskey. The documentary showcases what began as a typical day at Hanna Coal Company’s Willow Grove Mine, recognized at the time as one of the country’s model mines. But it ended in tragedy on March 16, 1940.

“This year marked the 84th Anniversary of the Willow Grove Mine Explosion,” the council notes in its release. “The UMWA hosts a memorial service in March each year at the memorial site. The Willow Grove Mine Memorial will be a featured stop along this year’s Belmont County Heritage Trail/Rubberneck Tour on Saturday, April 27.”

The Belmont County Heritage Museum is located at 101 E. Main St. in St. Clairsville. In addition to rotating exhibits, visitors will find displays about the county’s sheriffs and artifacts from Belmont County communities representing their industries, landmarks and important historical figures.

“The displays bring the spirit and history of each area together under one roof,” the release states. “From the designer of the USS Constitution to a major role in the glass industry, people can discover hidden gems that Belmont County is proud to hold in its history.”


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