Appalachian Forest Discovery Center
101 Railroad Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241
The Appalachian Forest Discovery Center museum is located on the first floor of the Darden Mill, a National Historic Landmark, in downtown Elkins. The Darden Mill, built in 1902, was a historic grist mill known as the Elkins Milling Company. The West Virginia Railroad Museum occupies the second floor of the Darden Mill.
The Appalachian Forest Discovery Center opened its doors in 2015, but the ideas behind it started several years earlier with the creation of the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA), designated as a National Heritage Area in 2019. AFHA is a non-profit organization that aims to integrate central Appalachian forest history, culture, natural history, products, and forestry management into a heritage tourism initiative to promote rural community development.
Since its opening, the Discovery Center has endeavored to create engaging exhibits that explore AFHA’s four focuses: Forestry, Nature, Culture, and History. The main exhibit touches on all four of the topics, while a yearly temporary exhibit rotates between the themes in order to provide a deeper insight into one of the topics. Open April through October.