Place Category: Hatfield-McCoy Mountains
The Bituminous Coal Heritage Foundation Museum was created by the Boone County Development Corporation and chartered by the State of West Virginia. The growth of the West Virginia Coal Festival and area historic attractions encouraged Foundation members and the Development Authority to develop a museum. Boone County was the logical location for this museum and visitor’s center. In 1742, coal was first discovered there and was the economic lifeblood of the county for over a century.
For several years, a temporary exhibit was set up during the West Virginia Coal Festival by area resident R. B. Foster. To create a permanent home for the items, the Foundation purchased the former Boone County Bank in 1994. The historic structure, built in 1924, was in a great location at 347 Main Street. That plan changed in June 1994 when the family of the late Tommy and Mary Frances Ellis donated a building adjacent to the one recently purchased by the Foundation. The former bank is now the Boone Arts and Heritage Center where local artist and traveling exhibits are featured.
The downtown coal museum showcases the history of coal and its people. The goal of the creation was two-fold. First, the Foundation wanted a permanent site to house memorabilia of the coal industry. Second, a place was needed to explain the history of coal and its impact on the region and the state. The museum was and remains an educational place visited by schoolchildren, out of area visitors, and former coal miners and their decedents.