West Virginia Independence Hall and the Civil War
Digital Storytelling, Part 4
by Jacob Rice and Austin Owens [ See video at end of article ]
In the last decade, society has predominantly relied on technology to provide entertainment and information, which has caused the downfall of many museums, historical sites, and libraries. As first semester students at the California University of Pennsylvania, those seemingly out-of-date places were not on our radar, but this project changed our viewpoints significantly. We can only hope that our project will have the same effect on any person who watches our digital story.
The driving motivation for the feature video was to show people that historical sites, particularly West Virginia Independence Hall, have not lost their value. In addition, we wanted to tell a story that the people from Wheeling could be proud of by showing the little-known impact that West Virginia Independence Hall had on the Civil War. From the information we gathered from the site, we concluded that the former Custom House and the conventions that were held there were essential to the birth of the new state of West Virginia and had a significant impact on the course of the war. The focus for our video was mutually determined due to the interest we both shared in the Civil War. Although our team had prior knowledge of the Civil War, we both were surprised by the amount of information and history that was located at West Virginia Independence Hall. The site uncovered a lot of background in respects to the town of Wheeling, but also of the creation of West Virginia.
This project allowed us to create a story from scratch, which is not as simple as it sounds. We overcame obstacles that were confronted during the writing process, particularly with wording and the order of information. The software used to create the final project was not user-friendly, so there were hiccups in the editing process as well. Through this project, we learned how to present historical facts in a dramatic and entertaining way without compromising the validity of the information.
The overall theme of our feature video is Wheeling pride. It is said that the richest and most fulfilling information can be found right in front of your eyes, but it is often blocked by modern society. We hope that our feature video will not only provide information about West Virginia Independence Hall, but we also hope it gives the town of Wheeling a voice. Furthermore, we hope that it inspires other young individuals to take the time to explore some of their own town’s historical background.