WHIPPLE, W.Va. -- Ian Sweet raked through the undergrowth outside the Whipple Company Store Museum on Wednesday. Breathless and sunburned, he drove a shovel through the rocky ground to clear the hill beside the building.
Sweet -- a Boy Scout from Oberlin, Ohio -- decided to forgo whitewater rafting and skateboarding at the National Scout Jamboree on Wednesday for a firsthand lesson on West Virginia history.
The Whipple Company Store served local coal miners for decades. Today, the wooden structure stands as a living reminder of the days when coal drove Whipple's economy.
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts helped expand the museum store complex.
Sweet and fellow Scouts worked all morning to build an amphitheater on the grassy knoll outside the museum. They also broke ground on a community garden to teach local children about organic growing practices.
The area currently features a small platform where local students have re-enacted historical events and staged plays about the coal barons and the mine wars.
Local historian Joy Lynn wants to continue those re-enactments on a larger scale.
Lynn breathed life into the crumbling store eight years ago. Since then, she has encouraged countless young people -- including the Scouts who came to Whipple on Wednesday -- to embrace local history.
Lynn has seen children learn best from interactive displays and exhibits.
"If they can touch history," she said, "they can retain history."