WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 8, 2016) – The Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education will showcase its traveling exhibit, “Robert C. Byrd: Senator, Statesman, West Virginian” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Sept. 19-23 in the Rotunda of the Richard B. Russell Senate Office Building.
On Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the U.S. Capitol Historical Society will host a reception honoring Sen. Byrd in the Kennedy Caucus Room (325 Russell Senate Office Building). Senate Historians Emeriti Dr. Richard A. Baker and Dr. Donald A. Ritchie will offer remarks. Both Baker and Ritchie serve on the board of directors of the Byrd Center.
Walter J. “Joe” Stewart, chairman of the Byrd Center board and former Secretary of the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 1994, extended appreciation to West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin III and Shelley Moore Capito for their joint letter to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee securing the Rotunda space for the information-rich exhibit.
“As we prepare for the Centennial of Senator Byrd’s birth in November 2017,” Stewart said, “we are executing a variety of programs, events and research projects designed to promote a better understanding of Congress and the bi-partisan legislative process. Our hope is to engage in educational outreach designed to address the fact that the history of Congress and its role in American government may not be very well understood by most Americans.”
Stewart said the Byrd Center is seeking private sector, foundation and government funding to help tell the “rich and motivating story of a poor Appalachian orphan who gained the trust and support of West Virginians, his colleagues in Congress and peoples throughout the world.” He said Byrd is “best known for being a champion of the United States Constitution and for superb constituent service to fellow West Virginians.”
The exhibit tells the story of Sen. Byrd’s early life in the coal fields, his service to the state and the nation, and his lasting legacy and designation as the West Virginian of the 20th Century. The Centennial of Sen. Byrd’s birth is Nov. 20, 2017, and the traveling exhibit will be at the Culture Center in Charleston, where a celebration is being planned.
To date, the exhibit has been hosted in Shepherdstown, Parkersburg, Beckley, Bluefield and Lewisburg. Future stops are listed at http://www.byrdcenter.org/traveling-exhibit.html. The tour of the Robert C. Byrd exhibit is funded, in part, by a major grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council. FirstEnergy, PiperJaffray and McGinn and Company have also made contributions to facilitate the exhibit.
About the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education: The mission of the Robert C. Byrd Center is to advance representative democracy by promoting a better understanding of the United States Congress and the Constitution through programs and research that engage citizens in the history of Congress. The Center is the home of the Robert C. Byrd Archive containing the papers and records of the Senator’s long career. More can be found at http://www.byrdcenter.org/