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336 Mate St.
Matewan, WV 25678


The WV Mine Wars Museum preserves and interprets artifacts and historical records of the local communities affected by the Mine Wars, exploring historical events from multiple perspectives through the lives of ordinary people. The museum is dedicated to educating the public about the events of the Mine Wars era, including the history of the United Mine Workers of America in the local area; the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912-1913; the 1920 Matewan Massacre; and the 1921 Miners March leading to Battle of Blair Mountain. Finally, it aims to educate youth, promote heritage tourism, and foster local economic development.



Thoughts on Working as an Artist in a History Museum: Creating a New Exhibition at the WV Mine Wars Museum

by Shaun Slifer, Creative Director

Pictures are of our newest exhibit “Boots on the Ground” and courtesy of Shaun Slifer and Kenzie New. Click through to see before and after pictures of our stage space. Thanks to the JASMER Foundation for funding this project!

“I have proudly worked as the Creative Director at the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, which I helped to found, since 2014. I always tell people that this is one of the projects I’m most proud of, and that’s not an exaggeration — there’s some serious talent and passion in our working group, and we’ve built something rare and incredible.

This spring, I worked with historian Chuck Keeney to build our museum’s first temporary exhibition, Boots on the Ground: General Bandholtz and Federal Troops at Blair Mountain. I was down in Matewan installing everything just a couple weeks ago, with an opening on May 18 during Matewan’s annual Heritage Day celebrations.

Doug Estepp, a collector and a huge supporter of ours, brought us the opportunity in the form of a military trunk full of the belongings of US Army General Harry Hill Bandholtz. Gen. Bandholtz was the Army commander responsible for leading federal troops in forcing the armed, striking coal miners to surrender during the Battle of Blair Mountain (1921). Doug was willing to loan this trunk for exhibition, and that’s how we got started making an exhibit about the US military’s role in suppressing a popular revolt against corporate interests.”

Read more about Shaun’s experiences putting together Boots on the Ground, and come see us in Matewan on Fridays and Saturdays from 11am – 6pm.  

Redneck Pride and Power is Revived in West Virginia


In 2018 and 2019, thousands of teachers across the state took up the tradition of our Mine Wars predecessors, by standing up for their rights to fair pay and a decent living.

Some striking teachers even donned red bandanas, recalling the uniform of miners from the Mine Wars era. 

We were proud to see this sign of our hertiage on display and even prouder to see our fellow working women and men showing us what powerful unions look like today in West Virginia.

Once again, unionized workers — our teachers — are on the front lines. They are struggling not only for their own dignity and fair wages, but also — because of their union solidarity — they are able to mount a challenge to the Legislature and governor that can help their non-unionized brothers and sisters employed by the state.

The teachers who have rallied at the Capitol over the past week, many of them sporting red bandanas just like the miners at Blair, recognize this proud history. Legislators who do not recognize this do so at their own peril.
— Jack Seitz, Lead Educator

NEH to Fund Blair Centennial Project!

On August 2, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced that the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is the recipient of a $30,000 challenge grant for The Blair Centennial Project, our long-term plan to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 2021!

The five-day Battle of Blair Mountain unfolded on the border of Boone and Logan counties and pitted unionist coal miners against local law enforcement and citizen militias. The Blair Centennial Celebration will consist of five days of fun, interpretive activities spread out across the coalfield counties where the conflict took place. 

The NEH grant committee called the Blair Centennial Project “A bold and collaborative effort to use the humanities to foster cultural tourism and give a challenged community hope for the future through respect for the past.”

Thank you to our partners the West Virginia Humanities Council, the West Virginia Labor History Association, the UMWA Local 1440, the National Coal Heritage Area, the West Virginia Preservation Alliance, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, and Eliza Newland at the Watts Museum for your support! 

Thank You for Believing in Us, NEH!

First visit to our site? Watch this video for an introduction to the Museum's work...

A lot has been written and said about the mine wars, but it has usually been somebody else’s interpretation of the story. This is the first time that our people are in charge of the narrative, our own history.
— Volunteer Wilma Steele