Civil War Collection Exhibit with Porter Stiles


Marisa Meyer

Civil War Exhibit

Marisa Meyer, Staff Reporter

Fairmont State University alumni recently shared their collection of Civil War artifacts with students, friends, and community members at the Frank & Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center.

Porter Stiles displayed a variety of artifacts and antiques that included photographs, flags, guns, sabers, medals and military uniforms. Stiles began the night by telling the audience a few stories, emphasizing the significance of the pieces themselves.

“It’s about my collection, not a history lesson,” he said.

Stiles was just 11 years old when he acquired his first war item in 1963. At the time, Stiles and his father had stopped in Petersburg, Virginia, to view a war exhibit and later went to a junk shop. In that shop, Stiles asked his father for a toy gun on display. Instead of buying the toy gun, his father purchased a war saber for $20. It was the first piece in a lifelong collection.

Before opening the floor for questions, Stiles revealed a few more facts about himself and his work. During his college career at Fairmont State, Stiles participated in Civil War reenactments and appeared in a few Civil War -themed movies such as “Gods and Generals.”