Gianopoulos Named Museum Curator
Andrew Gianopoulos knew nothing of Wetzel County when he applied for the curator position at its museum. However, that did not stop Gianopoulos, when he was chosen for the job, from leaving his town of Newburgh, Ind., and moving, by himself, to Wetzel County.
That same enthusiasm has stayed with Gianopoulos as he has begun his endeavor to, as he describes it “help the museum realize its full potential.”
The curator certainly possesses the skills to accomplish the task. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Art History from Ohio University. He went on to graduate with a Masters of Arts in Art History from the University of Cincinnati. Gianopoulos’ passion for history stems further back than his collegiate days however. The curator said, in an introductory announcement via the “Wetzel County Museum” Facebook page that he was “that kid in second grade reading thick chapter books on the Civil War.”
“My favorite family vacations were the ones spent at battlefields or forts,” he added.
Gianopoulos knew he wanted to work in a museum after a church pilgrimage to Rome his sophomore year of high school.
“After seeing the Sistine Chapel I knew I had to find a career in the world of museums,” he said.
Gianopoulos described being a curator at a museum as being a “dream” of his.
It appears as if Gianopoulos is living his dream at the Wetzel County Museum.
He described the Wetzel County Museum as being “rich with history and tradition.” The curator admires the building, including the hardwood floors, and he noted that his favorite exhibit would have to be the glass, complementing the way the light hits it.
Gianopoulos does have some big plans for the museum though. He noted that currently the museum’s exhibits are “small stories,” in themselves. He would rather see the exhibits as one, flowing story.
The new curator also wants to see more return visitors. He hopes to accomplish this with temporary exhibitions and programs for the public.
A long-lasting exhibition of sorts will be a mural that is to painted on the side of the museum’s building.
The mural, to be painted by Ruston Baker, will feature Gloria Swanson, who shot a movie in New Martinsville. The mural will also feature native, aviator Dinger Daugherty, and New Martinsville native and former WVU football coach Bill Stewart. Stewart was chosen by the public after nominations for the mural were taken by the West County Convention and Visitors Bureau, via its Facebook page, and then voted upon.
Another exhibit, titled “Identity & Place: The People of Wetzel County,” is currently a work in progress. The exhibit will feature people of Wetzel County at work, in their environment. The exhibit will explore how “struggles, conflicts, successes, and failures define who somebody is,” along with “how does the land around us shape who we are?” Finally, the exhibit will explore how individual “stories come together to form a complex narrative.” County residents interested in being included in the exhibit are asked to call the museum at 304-398-4910.
Wetzel County resident, and photographer, Robby Parsons, is spearheading the “Identity & Place” exhibit. Gianopoulos credits Parsons, also an employee at the museum, for assisting with marketing at the museum. “He knows everyone,” Gianopoulos remarked.
The curator also encourages the public to introduce themselves. Via Facebook he remarked, “Just from the handful of people I’ve met I know there are a lot of great stories out there. I can’t wait to hear them.”
Wetzel County Museum is currently open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is currently free.
Membership to the museum is being encouraged. Benefits include free admission to the Wetzel County Museum, as well as free admission to the Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum for up to four people.
Benefits of membership also includes a personal invitation to all Museum special events and Worskhops, as well as access to quarterly newsletters.
Membership categories include the following: student/senior, $20; individual, $30; family, $40; patron, $100, and business, $250.