Washington D.C. is home to some of the most famous museums in the world. But did you know that you don’t have to travel to the nation’s capital to enjoy an amazing museum experience? Tucked away in Winchester is a true gem, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Built in 2005, this 50,000-square-foot museum is dedicated to teaching guests about the rich history, arts and culture of the Shenandoah Valley.
While walking through this museum’s exhibits, which contain more than 11,000 pieces, you’ll get a glimpse into the lives of both the Native Americans and the settlers that once resided in this valley. The museum’s collection contains tools, furniture and other objects that these people used, as well as a beautiful collection of furnished miniature houses. One of these little recreations — Shadows-on-the-Teche — is even “haunted.” If you look closely at the tiny antebellum mansion, you’ll be able to spot a ghostly figure in one of the windows.
The museum also hosts temporary exhibits. In September 2018, for example, an outdoor exhibition called Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks was on display in the garden.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley sits on a total of 214 acres, which is the largest green space in the City of Winchester. The property for the museum complex was originally owned by James Wood, the founder of Winchester, who laid claim to the land in 1735. A descendent of Wood’s, Julian Wood Glass created the Glass-Glen Burnie Foundation, which was given the property after his death in 1992 and charged with the task of building the museum. The grounds are also home to the historic Glen Burnie house, which was built in 1794 and is open to the public.
The property is also the site of a beautiful seven-acre garden that is divided into several different sections, including a rose garden, a vegetable garden and an Asian-influenced water garden. The grounds are especially beautiful in the spring when the flowers are blooming and in the fall when the trees are changing colors. The museum is currently working on creating a three-mile trail system. When completed, visitors will be able to explore the fields, woods and wetlands located on the property at no cost.
Looking for a place to host a special event, such as a wedding, corporate meeting or a holiday party? Then make sure to check out the grounds of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, which has numerous areas you can rent, including the gardens, the Glen Burnie House and the reception hall.
Address: 901 Amherst Street
Hours of operation: Open Tuesdays through Sundays, Closed on Mondays. Between April and December, the hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Then from January through March, the hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission includes access to the museum, the Glen Burnie House and the gardens. Cost is $10 adults; $8 seniors; $8 children 13 to 18 years of age. Children 12 and under are free. The museum is also free on Wednesdays.
The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.