• Charles "Chuck" Yeager, a U.S. Air Force major general from Lincoln County and the first person to break the sound barrier flying an airplane.
• Lew Burdette, the longtime Major League pitcher from Nitro, who won three World Series games pitching for the Milwaukee Braves against the New York Yankees in 1957.
• Mary Lou Retton, a Fairmont native who won the all-around gold medal for women's gymnastics at the 1984 Olympics.
• Robert C. Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history.
• David Selby, the actor born in Morgantown who starred in television series including "Dark Shadows" and "Falcon Crest."
An impressive wooden airplane propeller in the exhibit honors former West Virginia State College students who became some of the first black Americans to fly military aircraft during World War II.
West Virginia State created the first Civilian Pilot Training Program at a black college in the United States. Many students from the program joined the Tuskegee Airmen after getting further training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.
A little circular piece of wood comes from the Bridge Crossing into Ohio on the National Highway that was built in 1833.
A rusty coal miner's lunch pail honors Giuseppe "Joseph" Argiro, who invented the pepperoni roll in Fairmont. After the Country Club Bakery served the first pepperoni rolls to miners in 1927, they quickly became popular because they required no refrigeration.
A copy of the documentary film "Super-Size Me" honors Morgan Spurlock, from Parkersburg. Based on Spurlock's venture of eating only food from McDonald's for a month, Spurlock raised questions about the health problems created by American dietary habits.
Mother's Day, first celebrated at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908, also is featured, for creating a national holiday.
Historic sites featured in the new exhibit include: the South Charleston Mound, built by Adena Indians between 250 and 150 B.C.; the Oakhurst Links Golf Club, the first organized golf club in the country, which opened in White Sulphur Springs in 1884; the Battle of Blair Mountain in Logan County in 1921; and the secret 112,544-square-foot bunker constructed under The Greenbrier resort, beginning in 1958, to protect members of Congress in the event of nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.
Historic relics and artistic items throughout the exhibit feature the state's major industries, including steel, aluminum, glass, coal, logging, chemicals and river traffic through locks and dams.
Mister Bee Potato Chips, the Marble King, the Wheeling Jamboree and "Mountain Stage" also are featured.
The West Virginia State Museum's special sesquicentennial exhibit opens Thursday at the Culture Center. The public is welcome to view the new exhibit during an opening reception at 6 p.m.
The State Museum is open every Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; every Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.; and on the first Monday of each month from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.