The Wetzel County Museum is located in historic downtown New Martinsville, West Virginia. The building that houses the museum began as Wells Hardware Company, which was owned and operated by Friend Cox Wells (1848-1939). Wells’ daughter, Sara Wells Eakin (1882-1961) and her husband, J.O. Eakins (1883-1958) joined the store as partners and transformed the shop into the Wells Hardware and Furniture Company. Wells Hardware remained in operation until Friend’s grandson, J. Wells Eakin, retired in 1997. The building then housed the newly formed Wetzel County Historical Society which was spearheaded by Jim Fitzsimmons (1924-2009). The Historical Society operated with the purpose of displaying historical objects, old photographs, and telling stories of Wetzel County’s fascinating past. The Wetzel County Historical Society ceased operations in 2009 with the passing of Fitzsimmons and the building and its collection were subsequently acquired by the Wetzel County Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
The CVB’s goal was to turn the Historical Society into a professional museum and a place where the history of the area could be safely stored and appreciated. Extensive renovations were made to the building and many of its original features were restored including its hardwood floor and tin ceiling. These renovations began in the mind of Denise Nielsen Tackett, the Secretary of the CVB and a student of cultural history and preservation. Tackett accessioned artifacts, developed a color scheme for the museum, and installed displays that can still be seen in the museum.