The Stirrup Gallery, located on the historic Davis & Elkins College campus, includes hands-on exhibits as well as one of the most extensive collections of powder horns in the United States; domestic life pieces and firearms from the historic Darby Collection; Ancient Roman coins, Native American artifacts and much more! Originated in 2013, The Stirrup Gallery has 14,000 years of history that has been donated to Davis & Elkins College. The Stirrup Gallery is dedicated to student success as they provide materials for them to promote thoughtful and meaningful involvement in their communities and the world.
The Stirrup Gallery is home to an array of over 10,000
donated artifacts ranging anywhere from the Roman Empire, a collection of
brilliantly colored butterflies from Peru, an up-close look Native American
tools, clothing, and art, to even fossils! A few of the many notable exhibits
include The Darby Collection, The Reckling Collection, The Howard-Sudbrink
Collection, and many more.
The most popular exhibit at the Stirrup Gallery is the Darby
Collection, donated by Hosea M. Darby, who was a West Virginian builder and
architect. The Smithsonian Institution and Colonial Williamsburg have both
inspected all 100 firearms in the Darby Collection. These guns range from the
period of 1600 to the Civil War era and are accompanied in the collection by
other weaponry such as knives and swords. This collection is also home to one
of the top five powder horn collections according to The Smithsonian Institute
and Colonial Williamsburg curators, with some of the horns having detailed
carvings. Other notable pieces in this collection include Native American
pottery and baskets, Americana pieces (such as spinning wheels, looms, and
furniture), glassware, metalware, and Mississippian artifacts. Without a doubt,
the Darby Collection is sure to educate everyone who encounters it.
The Reckling Collection, donated by Jerry Reckling in 2017,
is home to Miocene and Pleistocene epoch fossils. The fossils in this
collection date back 2.6 million years and include parts of a mastodon, a
platybelodon, a wooly rhinoceros, and many more. This collection also contains
replicas of a cave bear and smilodon skull. Perhaps most notably, is the
mammoth exhibit that is made up of vertebrae, jaw parts, and even a tooth that
can be held by guests!
The Howard-Sudbrink Collection was donated by Board of
Trustee member and alumni Bill Sudbrink in 2014. This collection is home to
over 400 Roman coins and is one of the top twenty private collections in the
United States. These coins are a variety of gold, silver, and bronze. These
coins show Trajan’s major accomplishments, war campaigns, and gladiator games.
Guests of The Stirrup Gallery, are able to hold one of the coins in this