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Traveling WV: Stirrup Gallery

The Stirrup Gallery houses the Darby Collection, with over 10,000 items. (WCHS/WVAH)

Hosea M. Darby of Elkins was a collector with a capitol "C". His eclectic collection of over 10,00 prehistoric, American history, Civil War, and American Indian items filled his home in Randolph County until he passed away in the 1940's. In his will, Darby donated his entire collection to Davis and Elkins College, only one problem, the college had no where to store it. So Hosea's collection was stashed in attics, closets and basements in every building on campus, and remained largely hidden for over 70 years. It wasn't until space was made available that Davis and Elkins Special Collections curator Mark Lanham began digging into every nook and cranny on campus searching for the coveted Darby Collection. After Lanham's exhaustive search and cataloging, history buffs can now experience the collection displayed beautifully at The Stirrup Gallery on the campus of Davis and Elkins.

Only a third of the collection is on display, but Lanham keeps the museum fresh by rotating items. Some of the highlights include rifles from the Revolutionary War, a Sioux Indian elk skin dress, and a gun recovered from the battle of Little Big Horn the sight of Custer's last stand. The Stirrup Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, and on weekends by appointment. Call (304) 642-6705. The gallery is free and open to the public.

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