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Fig. 1: Glen Burnie Historic House.
When the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) opens in Winchester, Virginia, on April 3, it will mark completion of the second phase of a significant regional history museum complex. The project was inaugurated in 1997 with the opening of the Glen Burnie Historic House and Gardens. The new 50,000-square-foot museum, which features several individual collections through which visitors will be able to explore the broader history of the Shenandoah Valley, is within walking distance of the house. With this opening, the buildings and grounds will be collectively known as the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Winchester was the first town in the Shenandoah Valley to be recognized by
Fig. 2: Pink Pavilion Courtyard.
Virginia’s colonial government. This community, therefore, had an important role in the valley’s settlement. It was originally part of the 1,200-acre land grant for which Virginia surveyor James Wood applied in 1735. By 1744 Wood had founded the settlement called Frederick Town, later renamed Winchester. In 1794, his son, Robert, built a house on this homestead land, which came to be called Glen Burnie (Fig. 1). The house, and what remained of James Wood’s original land grant, passed from the Wood to Glass families until its ownership by Julian Wood Glass Jr. in 1955. Glass restored the house and furnished it with an impressive collection of furniture, paintings, and decorative objects,
Fig. 3: Library, Glen Burnie Historic House.
both inherited and purchased (Fig. 3). Along with colleague R. Lee Taylor, Glass also created six acres of formal gardens that surround the house. These impressive gardens have spaces ranging from intimate to grand, and include water features, follies, and sculpture (Figs. 2, 6).
Among the inherited Valley objects is a tall case clock, ca. 1795, by Goldsmith Chandlee (1751–1821), which has kept time in the Glen Burnie house for more than two hundred years, and the walnut dining table. Objects Glass purchased for the house include furniture by Philadelphia and Massachusetts makers, and paintings by such artists as Lionel Constable
Fig. 4: Edward Beyer (1820–1865), View of Winchester, Virginia, 1856, Winchester, Va., 1856. Oil on canvas, 31 x 63 1/4 inches.
(1828–1887), Rembrandt Peale (1778–1860), and George Romney (1734–1802) (Fig. 5).
Through the MSV’s Julian Wood Glass Jr. Gallery, Glass’ story is told in a broader context, with the display of European objects and paintings that he owned in his New York and Oklahoma residences. Providing a counterpoint to these works is the Miniatures Gallery, which presents Valley collector R. Lee Taylor’s miniatures collection of tiny houses, rooms, and objects made by the
country’s leading miniatures artisans. These two galleries illustrate the interests of two fervent Valley collectors whose belongings are complementary; one shows “high style” in reality, while the other does so in miniature.
The MSV centerpiece is the Shenandoah Valley Gallery. Here is displayed a sweep of Valley history, from the story of Valley Indians to those who call the Valley home today. Of the six rooms, three are devoted to Valley decorative arts dating from the mid-eighteenth century onward (Fig. 4). More on this gallery may be read in the Curator’s Choice, pages 164–165.
The Changing Exhibitions Gallery completes the interpretive experience at the MSV. This gallery’s first exhibition, Virginia Landscapes: Watercolors by Pierre Daura, curated by the Daura Gallery of Virginia’s Lynchburg College and toured by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Office of Statewide Partnerships, presents vibrant watercolor scenes of Shenandoah Valley locations, and will be on display through mid-September. A schedule of exhibitions planned for this gallery will be announced at a later date.

Fig. 6: Pleached Allée, Glen Burnie Gardens.
Fig. 5: George Romney (1734–1802), Miss Elizabeth Taylor, ca. 1781. Oil on canvas, 59 x 48 3/4 inches.

Following its grand opening this spring, the MSV will be open year-round. The Glen Burnie Historic House and its gardens will be open from April 1 through November 30 in 2005; thereafter, from March 1 through November 30. The house, gardens, and museum are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 A.M. until 4 P.M. and are closed on major holidays. For more information, call 888.556.5799 or visit www.shenandoahmuseum.org.

Julie Armel is the Public Relations/Marketing Coordinator for the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.

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