ELKINS - A new collection in The Stirrup Gallery spanning ancient times through the 20th century displays a grandfather and granddaughter’s common love for history. Fred Rothe recently donated several items, naming the collection in honor of his granddaughter, Kaylee Wagner, a Davis & Elkins College freshman and student worker at the Gallery.
The Wagner Collection includes a clay oil lamp, Roman oil lamp from Judea, a Roman coin, a widow’s mite coin as referenced in the Bible, Mark 12:41-44, and a muzzle-loading gun from the Hmong people of Southeast Asia.
“It is always a joy seeing families explore history together,” said D&E Coordinator of Special Collections Mark Lanham. “Fred’s donation will add to the Gallery’s unique collections and inspire scholars of all ages.”
Rothe, a resident of Lewisburg, West Virginia, visited the Gallery just before Christmas. After hearing how much Wagner has learned by working there, he knew some of the pieces in his vast collection would have a new home.
“I think for a small museum they have a wonderful balance of things that touch a lot of different cultures,” Rothe said. “I think the things I donated fit right in and I know they’re in a place where they will be appreciated and enjoyed.”
As a student worker in The Stirrup Gallery, Wagner assists with tours and mainly focuses on preventative maintenance of the multiple firearms.
It was the large collection of guns in the Gallery that first attracted Wagner to the museum when she toured the D&E campus as a prospective student last summer. As a hobby, she and her grandfather enjoy competitive shooting – shotguns, rifles and pistols – as members of the SASS Club.
“It’s a passion. I love looking at guns and learning about them,” Wagner said. “So, I love The Stirrup Gallery and I love working here. This was the very first place I applied for a job on campus.”
In addition to the Wagner Collection, The Stirrup Galley, located in Myles Center for the Arts on the D&E campus, houses more than 10,000 North American treasures of The Darby Collection, along with the Howard-Sudbrink Collection, Foster Collection, Senator Davis Collection, Swezy Collection, Gary North Collection, J. Richard & Dotty S. Kendig Collection and Reckling Collection. Together they span more than 100,000 years of history.
The Stirrup Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and evenings and weekends by appointment. For additional information, call Lanham at 304-637-1980 or 304-642-6705 or visit www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment/stirrup-gallery.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Photo Caption: Coordinator of Special Collections Mark Lanham and Davis & Elkins College freshman Kaylee Wagner recently arranged the Wagner Collection display. With items representing ancient and 20th century history, the artifacts were donated by Wagner’s grandfather, Fred Rothe, and named in her honor.