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Since the 1930s, West Virginia University has collected historical artifacts and archival materials from the mining and petroleum industries. The collecting began within the University’s School of Mines, which was later named the College of Mineral and Energy Resources (COMER). A museum, known as the COMER Museum, was formally organized in the mid-1980s, and the construction of a dedicated museum space was approved. At that time, the COMER Museum established its mission of “preserving and promoting the social, cultural and technological history of the coal, oil and natural gas industries of West Virginia through the collection, preservation, research and exhibition of historical objects and archival materials.”

The West Virginia Coal Mining Institute endowed the COMER Museum with a substantial pledge in 2005. As part of the endowment agreement, the Institute was given the opportunity to rename the Museum. The Institute requested that the Museum be renamed The Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum in honor of “two individuals who have tirelessly supported its mission through both financial support and other resources.”

Royce J. Watts, a WVU faculty member for over sixty years, and his wife, Caroline B. Watts, were long time supporters of the Museum and the state of West Virginia’s mining heritage. Royce and Caroline Watts spearheaded the establishment of the COMER Museum and made significant contributions towards its growth and development. The Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum reflects, supports and preserves Royce and Caroline Watts’ dedication to West Virginia’s mining industries and their devotion to West Virginia University.

    • Directions

    • Enter the address you’re arriving from in the text field to get personalized directions to the Watts Museum.

    • Parking

    • Parking permits are available for visitors of the Watts Museum. Please call 304.293.4609 in advance of your visit to reserve a parking permit for your vehicle. Permits are not needed on Saturdays. Visitors may also park in the Coliseum parking lot (no permit necessary) and take the shuttle or walk to the Mineral Resources Building.

    • Hours

    • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1pm – 4pm

      Call 304.293.4609 for an appointment

      Closed in August for installation of new exhibit

    • *Please note that the Watts Museum is closed on WVU holidays.

      These holidays include: Martin Luther King Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, WV Primary Election Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, the Saturday before Thanksgiving through the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the Saturday before Christmas through the Saturday after New Year's Day.