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West Virginia Travelers Embracing Museum-cations This Summer

June 29, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Forget amusement parks - visit museums instead. The West Virginia Division of Tourism says that’s what many West Virginians are doing this year – and it's a trend the agency expects to increase, as people continue their summer tradition of loading up the car and taking a trip to explore the countryside and the state's bountiful historic sites.

In fact, Justin Gaull, a marketing specialist at the state Division of Tourism, notes that with the economy down and gas prices up, even more people want to take short, meaningful trips that do not cost a lot.

"Travelers are looking for more cost-effective and authentic experiences – things to do that are inexpensive or even free. Using these criteria, museums are key attractions."

Gaull says one-seventh of the nearly 15 million overnight trips in West Virginia each year include a visit to a museum. He expects that number to rise.

The West Virginia Association of Museums lists more than 200 museums in the state, including a number devoted to history. Gaull points out that every part of the state has some.

"Two examples are the West Virginia State Museum at the State Capitol complex, Charleston, and the new West Virginia Civil War flag display at Independence Hall, Wheeling."

A display of artifacts from John Brown's raid is drawing a lot of attention to the Jefferson County Museum in the Eastern Panhandle, Gaull adds.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV