This is the fifth in a series of guest posts by Abigail Van Gelder, who with her husband, Josh, is journeying across the country on the Library’s “Gateway to Knowledge” traveling exhibition:
When we started working with the wonderful folks of the West Virginia Center for the Book about parking Gateway to Knowledge at the capitol in Charleston, none of us thought we would actually get it to the spot we did. Josh talked with the campus security and facility managers to make a decision and got a fantastic location. It took my breath away to see the exhibit parked right in the middle of all the buildings and at the foot of the State Capitol. Seeing the trailer surrounded by the lovely landscaping and fountains just made my day and set us up for a great event.
Our Charleston, WV stop brought with it some very special guests. John Cole, Center for the Book director, came in from Washington to open the doors and greet guests. He was joined by JD Waggoner, West Virginia State Librarian, and Karen Hoff from the West Virginia Center for the Book for a ribbon cutting. Karen had no small part in getting us into the wonderful parking spot. They all seemed to enjoy the chance to talk with visitors and explore the exhibit themselves.
The events coordinator for the capitol building made an offer we just couldn’t pass up: “Want to take some photos from on top of the dome?” Neither Josh nor I are afraid of heights and jumped at the chance to climb the stairs all the way up to shoot the truck. Good excuse for a little adventure.
Our backstage tour also included a trip to the walkway just below in the internal dome for an amazing view of the capitol’s artwork and chandelier. After we made it all the way up and snapped some shots, it was time to come down. I will admit that it got a little scary swirling down all those stairs, but it was well worth it.