The Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History opened its doors on April 30, 1988, in response to a long-standing need to preserve, protect and exhibit the region's history. Although the Daughters of American Pioneers' log house museum in Parkersburg's City Park has preserved many artifacts since 1910, its space and visiting hours are severely limited. The next closest museum to the area is in Marietta, Ohio. The Blennerhassett Museum became the first professionally-operated, publicly-funded museum of regional history in west/central West Virginia.
The four-story brick building itself has an interesting past. The Starr Grocer Company constructed its offices and warehouses in 1902. Prospering, the company doubled the building's size in the 1920's and weathered the Great Depression, only to go out of business in the 1940's. Purchased in 1947 by the Guthrie-Morris Campbell Company of Charleston, the structure was sold by them in 1983 to the Blennerhassett Historical Park Commission, which renovated it in 1985 and1986 through a Federal EDA grant secured by Rene Zabeau.
The Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History is a showcase of three floors of priceless historical relics and objects of art from the Ohio Valley's past. Exhibits range from prehistoric Indian tools, jewelry, weapons and household items, ca. 9000 B.C., to oil paintings, old clothing, guns and military paraphernalia, furniture belonging to West Virginia's first governor, automobiles of the 19teens, farm implements, 19th-century jewelry and glassware ranging in age from 60 to 200 years old. In the 18th/early 19th century exhibit, visitors can find a "burning glass", a "bubby pot", some Ohio Valley's oldest manuscripts, maps, and a mourning fan ~ objects of yesteryear that now strike us with their quaintness. Blennerhassett relics are among the museum's most valuable acquisitions. The Blennerhassett Museum indeed has something for every historical interest.
Located on the corner of Second and Juliana streets, the museum is only three blocks from the Blennerhassett Hotel. Parking spaces are located off of 2nd Street, between Juliana and Ann streets, under the bridge overpass. All spaces are designated with a red "M". There is a brown sign on 2nd Street that states "Blennerhassett State Park & Museum Parking Only. Open year-round, the museum requires a separate admission ticket from the island. Come experience the adventure that is the Blennerhassett Museum!
In 1984, as part of the community's support of Blennerhassett Park, the Friends of the Blennerhassett organized as a volunteer group to conduct tours of the mansion, to operate gift shops on the island and in the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History and to host special events. These volunteers convey a sense of history, pride, and hospitality to visitors.
While at the Blennerhassett Museum visit the Blennerhassett Gift Shop. Handmade gifts, art, and souvenirs are available along with special holiday items.
Since the formal opening of the mansion in 1991, the park has experienced an increase in visitors who tour the museum in Parkersburg, the mansion located on the island, and visiting the gift shops.