LISTEN (2:20 FOR MUMMIES):
The Philippi mummies are the work of Barbour County farmer, shopkeeper, and self-taught embalmer Graham Hamrick. Hamrick was described as a hard-shell Baptist inspired by biblical passages as they related to the afterlife.
Hamrick started small by mummifying fruits, vegetables, and rodents. In 1888, the WV Hospital for the Insane (Now the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) granted Hamrick use of two unclaimed female cadavers, which he successfully mummified using the "Hamrick Embalming and Mummifying Fluid." For some time, the embalming fluid was available for sale.
The exact formulation and method are unknown, as Hamrick took these secrets to his grave (though he wished to be mummified using his own method, his family did not comply).
The Museum houses various objects that cover Barbour County's history. Our collections focus on different eras or subjects.
Civil War Artifacts
On June 3, 1861 the first land battle of the Civil War was fought in Philippi, WV (then Virginia).
Barbour County Historical Museum houses some important artifacts from this time such as bullets, cannon balls, instruments, weaponry, and uniforms.
Also on display is the prosthetic leg invented by James E. Hanger, the first amputee of the Civil War.
Early Farming & Mining Equipment
Barbour County, WV has a long history of farming and mining. The museum has a collection of various equipment used throughout Barbour County's history.
These including drills, grain cradles, barbed wire, mining helmets, and other equipment.
Barbour County Historical Museum collects, preserves, and presents the innovative yet rich tradition-based history and culture of North Central West Virginia with Barbour County as the focal point.
The museum aims to enhance local pride, to provide educational opportunities, and to increase the economic level of the community by attracting visitors to Barbour County.