Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of engineering education at West Virginia University, the Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources presents its latest exhibition, The Story of Engineering: West Virginia University, 1887–2012. The exhibition explores the history of engineering at WVU and traces the College’s growth since the founding of its first department, civil and mining engineering, in 1887.

The Story of Engineering places the development of engineering education at WVU within the context of local, national and global events, as the College’s role in the engineering sector expanded from a state-focused level at its inception to an international position in more recent years. Additionally, it showcases the College’s cross-disciplinary activities and influences by relating its history to not only high-tech disciplines but also developments and issues outside the engineering field.

“For West Virginians, our cultural heritage and identity are so closely linked to our industries that technological and engineering history is an essential element in understanding our past,” said curator Danielle Petrak. “The Story of Engineering interprets engineering history from a technological as well as cultural perspective, placing the study of engineering at the College within a broad historical and social context. The goal is to interpret the history of engineering at WVU in a way that is understandable and relevant both to individuals affiliated with the University and engineering and to the public at large.”

The Story of Engineering focuses on four key components of the College’s history—curriculum, research, student body, and facilities—and features historical artifacts, photographs, publications and archival documents to represent each of the eight departments that now comprise the Statler College. Other objects on display include the appointment letter for the College’s first Dean, C.R. Jones; a rare computer storage device from 1958 used for research in WVU electrical engineering labs; and equipment recovered from Mechanical Hall, the University’s engineering facility that was destroyed by fire in 1956.

“This 125-year milestone in 2012,” said Petrak, “provides an opportunity to reflect upon the College’s past by presenting some of its changes, challenges and contributions in the form of a museum exhibition.” The Story of Engineering is on view at the Watts Museum through July 2013.

The Watts Museum is located in Room 125 of the Mineral Resources Building on the Evansdale Campus of WVU. The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free, and parking is available at the WVU Coliseum. For more information or to arrange a tour, please contact the museum at (304) 293-4609 or

The Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the social, cultural and technological history of the coal, oil and natural gas industries of the state of West Virginia through the collection, preservation, research and exhibition of objects relevant to these industries.



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CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon