Liz McCormick Published

Sen. Robert C. Byrd Traveling Exhibit Opens to the Public


The exhibit titled, “Robert C. Byrd: Senator, Statesman, West Virginian,” is a two-year, traveling exhibit featuring the life and legacy of U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.

Jody Brumage, the archivist and office manager at Shepherd University’s Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, says this is the first narrative presentation of Byrd’s life and career since his passing in 2010.

“The exhibit runs all the way from his birth and his childhood in West Virginia’s coalfields, all the way up through his rise to both chambers of West Virginia’s state legislature into the House of Representatives and then into the U.S. Senate,” Brumage explained.

Senator Byrd holds the record as the longest-serving U.S. Senator in history.

Ray Smock, the Director of the Robert C. Byrd Center, explains how the exhibit is displayed on large, colorful panels.

“The exhibit itself is printed on a fabric,” Smock said, “and what it is, is it’s photographs and it’s documents from the Byrd Collection; some artifacts, photographs of artifacts and these [are] dramatically presented in a designed, graphic way.”

Smock says he hopes the exhibit starts a conversation among West Virginians – looking at the late senator’s accomplishments but also at the controversial aspects of his life.

Visitors will be able to read letters Byrd wrote, see artwork he did as a child, and other artifacts from his campaigns.

The exhibit will be open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning Monday, May 2, 2016 at the Robert C. Byrd Center at Shepherd University. It will be available at this location through May 20, 2016.

The exhibit will then travel throughout the state, eventually making its way to Charleston in November 2017 – in time for the celebration of Byrd’s 100th birthday.