POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The Point Pleasant River Museum and Lakin Cook Learning Center was recently awarded a grant from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation, one of the largest given in the Foundation’s history.
The check was presented on Monday by Stephen Littlepage, director of the Claflin Foundation, to James McCormick, director of the museum.
Littlepage said the check was the largest amount of money given at one time to a single organization in the foundation’s history.
McCormick wrote the grant to request funding for the auditorium and aquarium in the new museum’s building. As part of the $61,205 grant’s terms, the foundation has naming rights to the area, which will be named the Robert and Louise Claflin Auditorium and Aquarium.”
“[The Claflin Foundation] not only opened the door for this auditorium and the aquarium, but they’ve opened up an opportunity that’s freed up other money so we can redirect it,” McCormick said.
McCormick said the auditorium area will be a space that could be rented out to the public as an indoor event venue. There are also hopes to have educational opportunities in the area. McCormick said the museum has a partnership with the department of natural resources to get fish that are found locally in the river. He hopes to have lessons for the youth to learn about local fish species.
McCormick said in addition to the grant, the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation is the first to join the Corporate Legacy Advisory Board created by the museum board. The board will be made up of business owners, foundation and those with influence on the community and/or the river industry. McCormick said the advisory board was designed to be a partner with the museum. The annual fees will be used to help with day-to-day costs for the river museum.
Littlepage said the Claflin Foundation was a part of the previous river museum. The foundation invested in the museum by helping to fund previous projects, which totalled approximately $50,000, according to Littlepage. Littlepage also said when the foundation helps to fund a project, they keep an interest in that organization and intend to be involved.
“The river museum has shown that what we’re going to be doing here in Point Pleasant with that organization and with that building is going to bring a lot of interest and hopefully opportunity to the area,” Littlepage said. “We’re very pleased to be able to do this for the river museum.”
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.