A Gift of Antiquities: The Darby Collection

Date Posted: 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WONDERFUL WEST VIRGINIA MAGAZINE - For more than seven decades, The Darby Collection remained one of Davis & Elkins College's best kept secrets. The collection of nearly 10,000 North American treasures is now on display for public view in its new permanent home, The Stirrup Gallery of Myles Center for the Arts.

Dedicated in early 2013, the 2,600-square-foot gallery is home to artifacts representing everyday items used by mankind from the Stone Age through the early twentieth century. The Darby Collection was bequeathed to the College in 1942 by prodigious collector Hosea M. Darby. The Elkins architect, building contractor, and businessman was fascinated with the "rare and unusual," and he was inspired, over a period of four decades, to acquire a vast array of American, European, Inuit, and American Indian artifacts.

Just one month before his death, the collected deeded "Darby's Prehistoric and Early Pioneer Art Museum" to the College and entrusted its care and management to the institution. In his last will and testament, Darby stipulated that the collection be used for the education of college students and public school children, and for the enjoyment of the general public.