Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Recently, Brett and I visited the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley thinking that this would be a tiny museum full of farm implements and early settlers exhibits with maybe one or two references to Patsy Cline, since she was a Winchester native. Imagine my astonishment and pleasure when after viewing the aforementioned items, we walked into a room marked "Gallery" above the door. Inside the supposed gallery was a room of landscape art and then another room titled the Grand Tour and finally a phenominal collection of portraiture that the last heir to Glen Burnie, Julian Wood Glass, Jr, had amassed while living in New York. There were paintings by Cropsey, Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds,Thomas Lawrence, John Singleton Copley and my personal favorite Gilbert Stuart. The artworks span three centuries and also there is the sofa once owned by England's Queen Charlotte which is also seen in a wonderful portrait in the display. You just don't expect this complete and fine a collection in Winchester.

Not only does this museum hold two of my passions, history and art, they also have a fantastic display of miniatures in an adjacent room. This is the collection of R. Lee Taylor and is not just your usual tiny doll house, but holds a mansion Mr. Taylor designed and built himself, complete with tiny paintings in almost every room. There is also a general store, a river plantation house (complete with ghost) and absolutely amazing furniture and furnishings all built by Mr. Lee or some of the most noteworthy miniaturists of our time.

There is also a chair collection and display (not my thing).

Be sure to allow time to also tour the Glen Burnie Historic House and the fabulous gardens. The gardens are a must for anyone who aspires to be a Master Gardener or Landscaper.

There is a charge for each area, or a 3 for one price special.

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