The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center recently completed the renovations of its facade, bringing not only a new look for the building on Main Street, but a brighter look for part of Weirton's downtown.
The men and women who have put uncounted hours toward the establishment of the museum, the purchase of the building and all the projects over the last few years should definitely be commended for all of their efforts.
A community cannot truly feel alive, cannot develop an identity without recognizing its past.
That's the whole point of museum's, libraries, historical societies and the like. They chronicle and preserve our history so those of us living today, and those who will come in the future, will be able to look back and see the accomplishments of those who came before.
Yes, that also includes newspapers which have the tradition and important role of documenting community events, governmental actions, business growth and the many other comings and goings of any town or city.
The Weirton Museum has definitely come a long way, created by a small group of individuals with a (at least at the time) seemingly difficult and overwhelming goal.
Several of these individuals had collected various items and memorabilia over the years, others simply had a passion and desire to see those items preserved.
The problem became where those items could be stores and displayed for the public.
For several years, many of those items were kept in peoples' homes while ideas were formulated and space was sought.
Then, for several years, what became the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center shared a small area with the Top of West Virginia Conventiona and Visitors Bureau, but the goal always was for a home of its own.
Only a couple of years ago, that new home was opened, and since that time new items have been collected, new exhibits have been established and larger goals have been created.
Through donations, loans and grants, some of those goals, including the recent facade project, have been completed.
The new facade makes the building almost look like new to passing motorists and pedestrians.
I'm sure many people have noticed the contrast from its original plain, white color.
Now, with the look of black and red bricks and displays easily visible from the large windows, there should be no difficulty for people to know where the Weirton museum is located in our community.
It's been amazing to see the development of this important community landmark and I urge all of our residents to find some time to check it out.
It is important for all of us to understand our past before we can truly move forward. We can't simply rely on rumors or assumptions of events. Sometimes, we have to go directly to the source, or sit down at a museum or library and do a little research for ourselves.
The museum continues to work toward preserving that information so important for all of us, bringing together new ideas and pushing toward their completion.
Currently, they only have one floor available for display.
Projects are in the works to eventually install an elevator to improve access to the building's second floor and possibly build a children's activity area.
More importantly, this also could provide at least some of that kick our community needs to push forward even more than we already have.
A new look for one building could inspire others to find ways to do the same, bringing a few splashes of color to the downtown, which could possibly even attract others to fill in a few of the empty store fronts.
Things are happending in our area, even if you don't always see it. I believe, working together, this community can accomplish even more.
And all it takes is a little vision, some faith, patience and a willingness to work for a brighter future.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)