POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WOWK) – Come July it will be one year since the historic River Museum building caught fire in the attic causing staff and memorabilia to relocate temporarily.
For the last 10 months, the museum crammed inside an office space.
River Museum Executive Director, Jack Fowler said, ” I mean there’s no way to say ‘we’ve got a museum’ and invite people in.”
He explained displays are scattered everywhere resting on folding tables, some laying on the floor and other items stored at Point Pleasant Jr/Sr High School.
The fire happened on July 1st, 2018 – the cause was electric. Sisters, Ruth and Martha Vout were working while it happened.
“That was home down there, that was sad,” said Martha.
“At first, we wanted to go back and have it be just how it was. Just walk back in that museum and pick up where we left off, but that can’t happen,” said Ruth.
For months it has been a heated debate in the community: to rebuild the historic structure which is believed to date back to the Civil War era, or knock it down and build a brand new facility, which both solutions receiving support from residents.
Board members, however, believe the building is not safe and that building a brand new museum is the best for everyone.
“Everything has a useful life and this one has come to an end of that time, but I think we have an obligation for those that are following us to build them the same quality building that will last another 100 years,” said Fowler.
City Council reconvenes on Monday, May 13th, 2019 at 6 pm to further discuss the future of the River Museum and possibly put something to vote. Public comment will be open.