Born of Rebellion: West Virginia Statehood and the Civil War

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The Council’s latest flagship exhibit is Born of Rebellion: West Virginia Statehood and the Civil War. This comprehensive, large-scale experience covers sectional tensions within Virginia preceding the Civil War, the violence and chaos of the war surrounding West Virginia’s formation, and the difficult aftermath as the new state struggled to forge its destiny during Reconstruction.


Born of Rebellion explores this tumultuous and complex era from a wide range of perspectives, including politicians, common soldiers, women, and African Americans. Not simply a story of war and politics, Born of Rebellion conveys to audiences the complexities and pitfalls that accompanied West Virginia’s arduous journey to separation from Virginia.


The exhibit requires approximately 500 square feet to display, but is organized in modular sections that can be accommodated to a variety of layouts and venues. Explore the links at right for more information, or contact if your organization is interested in hosting.


Born of Rebellion was made possible with generous funding from West Virginia American Water and the NEH’s A More Perfect Union initiative.


American Water logo
National Endowment for the Humanities: A More Perfect Union logo





Dates below are subject to change. Contact the Council to confirm.


2023 Tour Dates

  • Oct 6–Nov 2: BUCKHANNON - West Virginia Wesleyan College, Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library on campus. Open weekdays 8a-6p, weekend hours may vary.
  • Nov 7-Dec 4: MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University Downtown Library
  • Dec 7-Jan 13: WHEELING - Ohio County Public Library. Open during library hours.

2024 Tour Dates

  • Jan 16-Feb 10: CLARKSBURG - Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library. Open during library hours.
  • Feb 20-Mar 18: HUNTINGTON - Drinko Library, 3rd floor, Marshall University. Open during library hours.
  • Mar 22-Apr 22: BECKLEY - Historic Black Knight Municipal Park. Open during public hours.
  • June-July: CHARLESTON
  • More dates and locations coming soon!


The Original Born of Rebellion

Keen observers may remember another Born of Rebellion (BOR) that looked a little different from the current version. In fact, this was the title of the Council’s very first in-house traveling exhibit, which began touring the state in 2005. The original BOR focused on the constitutional and legal issues surrounding West Virginia statehood, and won an award from the American Association for State and Local History.


The exhibit’s design and construction was accomplished by West Virginia University graphic arts professor Eve Faulkes and her students. In 2012, a newer, lightweight version of BOR was released on the cusp of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial. It toured extensively for several years.


By 2020, wear and tear necessitated the retirement of both earlier versions. By this time, nearly two decades of new scholarship on the Civil War—especially during the sesquicentennial period of the 2010s—inspired a more holistic approach to the material. Rather than focus exclusively on legal and political proceedings, the Council opted to examine the interplay of statehood issues with the war, public sentiment, local and national politics, and the lives of ordinary soldiers and civilians in West Virginia. The impact of slavery on West Virginia’s separation from Virginia, which has long been understudied or oversimplified, was also more fully contextualized.


The Council hopes this new effort—the only traveling exhibit of its kind in the state—will excite new conversations about West Virginia’s origins and identity.

WV Encyclopedia Exhibit Companion

Hungry for more history? Explore more articles on statehood and the Civil War with this exclusive exhibit companion.


View the PDF here »

Born of Rebellion Tech Specs

Coming soon: Shipping dimensions to help you plan for Born of Rebellion at your venue.


Download a quick overview here »

Council Exhibit Request Form

Email completed forms to


Download the fillable PDF here for all exhibits »