Rotary members learn about gallery

The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Henry-Vance Mark Lanham, coordinator of special collections at Davis & Elkins College, speaks Monday to members of the Rotary Club of Elkins about The Stirrup Gallery and its wide range of collections. The club’s weekly meetings take place at the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA.

ELKINS — From Roman coins, Civil War weapons and mastodon teeth to thousands of Native American artifacts, The Stirrup Gallery at Davis & Elkins College offers a range of collections spanning 3,500 years of history.

Members of the Rotary Club of Elkins heard a presentation this week by Mark Lanham, coordinator of special collections at D&E College, who encouraged them all to stop by The Stirrup Gallery, which is open to the public and available for students and tour groups.

Lanham said the gallery features nine collections, and the most extensive is The Darby Collection. Hosea M. Darby was a successful Elkins architect who donated his collection of more than 10,000 items to D&E College in 1943.

“It took me three, almost four years just to count and do inventory,” Lanham said, noting there are more than 6,000 arrowheads in the collection, and more than 100 firearms. The collection’s rifles and pistols are from the 1600s through the Civil War era, and one gun was used during Custer’s Last Stand in 1876.

The gallery also features displays of Roman coins in a room painted by D&E students.

“We have one of the top 20 collections of Roman coins in the United States,” he said.

Elementary students from surrounding counties often visit the gallery, but Lanham said Randolph County student groups haven’t yet. He said he hopes to get the word out to local teachers, so they can plan class trips or schedule times when he could bring artifacts to their classrooms.

“I love getting young people ‘addicted’ to it,” he said of students seeing the artifacts and some of the hands-on displays. “It gets them drawn in to learning about history.”

Originally established in 2013 as a home for The Darby Collection, The Stirrup Gallery has grown to include eight additional collections — the Lincoln Collection, the Eleanor Gay Collection, the Foster Collection, the Gary North Collection, the Swezy Collection, the Sen. Davis Collection, the Kendig Collection and the Howard-Sudbrink Collection.

The Stirrup Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and by appointment on evenings and weekends.

More information is available by calling 304-637-1980.

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