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WV Culture Center to present free holiday movies

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Top off the holiday season with three days of children's activities and family movies that will air on the big screen of the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Culture Center, State Capitol, in Charleston on Dec. 26-28. 

Each day will feature a different film, which will be shown at noon and 3 p.m. Children's activities relating to the arts, historic preservation and the state museum also will take place each day in the Great Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. All events are free and the public is invited to attend.

"Arthur Christmas" (2011, 97 minutes, Rated PG) will be shown on Dec. 26. This 3D-animated feature film at last reveals the incredible, never-before-known answer to every child's question: "How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?" The answer: Santa's high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic — a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. The film stars James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Eva Longoria and Laura Linney. 

On Dec. 27, visitors can see "Brave" (2012, 100 minutes, Rated PG). This Walt Disney/Pixar animated movie whisks you away on an astonishing adventure with Merida, a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land and inadvertently unleashes chaos and fury in the kingdom. When she turns to an eccentric old witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it's too late.

"Secret of the Wings" (2012, 92 minutes, Rated G) will be screened on Dec. 28. This computer-animated film by Walt Disney Pictures invites you on an incredible journey to an amazing new world. For the fairies of Pixie Hollow, the Winter Woods are strictly off limits. But when a mysterious force draws Tinker Bell to cross the border into this unknown world, she discovers a secret that will change her life forever. She meets with a frost fairy named Periwinkle, the only fairy who can help unlock the secret of the wings. With fun and laughter, they form a magical connection and make an astonishing discovery: they are more than friends, they are sisters. When Pixie Hollow is threatened, this pair must work together to save their two worlds. Narrated by Anjelica Huston, the film also stars Mae Whitman, Lucy Liu, Timothy Dalton and Lucy Hale.

Visitors also can tour the West Virginia State Museum and view the many exhibits on display in the Culture Center. In the Balcony Gallery, "A Model Holiday" has a selection of models from the museum's collection, some with historical significance and other made just for fun, including the USS Constitution 44 "Old Ironsides," a ship originally launched in 1797; a perfect to scale model of the USS West Virginia, made from 1930-1933 by Ira Ecker; several stagecoaches made by Ralph Meadows of Hinton; various aircraft made by G.B. McClintock Jr. of Point Pleasant, including a model of the plane flown by Manfred baron von Richthofen during World War I; several train models also made by Meadows; and a display case made from the wood of a tree under which Gen. Robert E. Lee pitched his tent while on Sewell Mountain in Fayette County in 1861.

"The Oil and Gas Industry: West Virginia's Gift to the World" in the Lobby Gallery presents the Mountain State's leading role in the country's oil and gas industry. It features "visible" gasoline pumps with clear glass cylinders; antique oil drums; "yellow dog" lanterns, so named because their two burning wicks resemble a dog's glowing eyes at night; a vintage Pennzoil gas-station sign; drilling tools; and much more from the collections of the West Virginia State Museum, State Archives, The Oil and Gas Museum in Parkersburg and Columbia Gas. The North Wing exhibit area off the Great Hall has a display of photographs from the West Virginia State Archives with a focus on popular pastimes such as parades, playing croquet, volleyball, horseshoes, canoeing, rafting, fishing, hunting and rock climbing.

In addition, the Great Hall is filled with holiday decorations, including wreaths decorated with poinsettias, seven trees with ornaments made by school children and a Victorian parlor setting.

For information, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner for the Division, at 304-558-0220.