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Appalachian Forest Discovery Center offering exhibits, displays

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brad Johnson The Appalachian Forest Discovery Center is located in the historic Darden Mill in Elkins, downstairs from the West Virginia Railroad Museum.

ELKINS — The Appalachian Forest Discovery Center is offering exhibits, displays and information each weekend through the summer.

“We’re open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays,” said Lukas Ray, partnerships and communications manager.

“Our region encompasses 16 countries and two in Maryland. This is our space, the Discovery Center, to speak about our organization but also what we represent with the National Forest, the Monongahela.”

The Discovery Center has a permanent exhibit and a visiting exhibit that changes each year.

“Our current exhibit focuses around four themes. Forestry, culture, nature and history. Our rotating exhibit focuses on public land use in the National Forest and the resources that surround it,” Ray said.

The Discovery Center first opened in 2014. It was only open in a limited fashion in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is fully open this year.

Located in the historic Darden Mill in Elkins, the Appalachian Forest Discovery Center invites the public to explore the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area’s rich cultural and forest heritage. Through its exhibits the Discovery Center acts as a welcome center for the AFNHA, providing information about other forest heritage sites in the region.

Each year new objects are donated and interactive elements are added to the Discovery Center.

The Discovery Center’s permanent exhibit allows visitors to investigate how the people of this region interacted with the forest and how it, in turn, influenced them.

To contact the center, which is located downstairs from the West Virginia Railroad Museum, call 304-637-6182.

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