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Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Ranked #2 of 46 things to do in Winchester
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) is dedicated to preserving and enriching the cultural life and heritage of the Valley. This regional history complex includes a house dating to the eighteenth century, six acres of spectacular gardens, and a 50,000-square-foot museum featuring changing exhibitions, a permanent display of miniature houses, and an expansive gallery exploring the history and decorative arts of the Shenandoah Valley. The MSV also includes a Museum Store and café (admission not required). The galleries are open year-round; the house and gardens April through October. The MSV sits on land originally claimed by Winchester founder James Wood in 1735. The property was passed through generations of Wood and Glass families until being acquired by Wood descendant and MSV benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr. (1910–1992) between 1952 and 1955. Glass and his partner at the time, R. Lee Taylor (1924–2000), worked together to transform the site and its Glen Burnie House—built in 1794 by James Wood’s son Robert—into a country retreat where the couple entertained in high style.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for older children
Winchester, Virginia, United States
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2013

Wonderful place to tour. Also, it has a little gift shop and area for lunch. Area can be rented out for events. Museum grounds are beautiful, especially in the spring and fall.

Visited April 2013
Thank Kay A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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400 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Down Home Culture”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

This museum provides a look at the history and culture of the Shenandoah Valley. There was also a Patsy Cline exhibit complete with many of her outfits. While it would not be on the top of my list of places to go in Winchester, it was interesting. There are also gardens, but, unfortunately, there was a lot of work being done and not much to see there.

Visited October 2013
Thank BarbaraBetty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elkins, West Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
70 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Excellent example of a modern museum”
Reviewed October 22, 2013

The modern red brick museum is snuggled in a rural area setting complete with cows in the nearby field. The hustle of traffic on I-81 and the many shopping areas in and around Winchester seem far removed once one drives through the gates and up the driveway to the museum. The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley tells the story of life in this beautiful valley that attracted people from several European backgrounds. Germans, Irish, English Scots, French settled here to start a new life with a guarantee of religious freedom and rich farm land from which they could raise crops. The galleries have model rooms so we of the 21st century can see how little late 18th and early 19th century families had in their houses. There are wonderful displays of crafts from the valley....finely crafted furniture....sideboards, clocks, drawers, tables, etc. pottery with outstanding examples from the region. The displays are not crowded nor is a visitor over loaded with too much text to read. There are touch displays, some have excerpts from letters or books from the past that are read, others have contemporary citizens of the valley relating tales from or about their ancestors. There even are samples of music from given periods of history to hear.

As I write in October 2013, there is a special exhibit on Winchester's favorite country-western star, Patsy Cline that covers her short life time. Her music is playing while several iconic pieces of clothing are on display along with record albums and even a taped Arthur Godfrey TV show in which Patsy is first seen/heard on TV. It was an interesting exhibit.

The land upon which the museum is built once belonged to Julian Glass, Jr. A few years before his death he deeded the land to the city to create a museum. Also on the acreage is a late 18th century house, Glen Bernie, in which he and his partner, R. Lee Taylor lived. Mr. Taylor was a gardener who created several beautifully landscaped gardens behind Glen Bernie. Though it was late October with most of the flowers dead, I was still impressed by the lay out of the gardens and the numerous statutes that were imaginatively placed throughout the grounds. There even is an oriental garden with a pool filled with Koi fish, and behind the fence is a forest of bamboo plants. Mr. Glass was into collecting fine art and antique furniture. The house is temporarily closed for renovation so I was unable to view his collection, but in the visitors center there is a model of the house in miniature which wheys ones interest for a return visit in 2014 when it will reopen in all of its splendor.

I spent four hours walking through the museum and the gardens. It was money well spent.

Visited October 2013
Thank Richard E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Summit, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
“Real Pleasant Surprise”
Reviewed October 22, 2013

Varied displays of Valley history, art, furniture, architecture and very pleasant displays. Well worth an hour and a half in the museum. Didn't spend time in the gardens. Very caring and informed staff.

Visited October 2013
Thank larryeverlingmktg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salisbury, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
186 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Not for children”
Reviewed October 21, 2013

I was expecting a lot more history to have been found here in this museum but was disappointed to find that it really wasn't geared towards children enough to hold their attention. My 9 and 15 year old were bored. Surprised that there was only 3 sections to this HUGE building that were for viewing. I am sure the gardens would have been a lot prettier during the spring or summer but also lacked fall colors that could have been easily incorporated with perennials and mums. A big portion was under renovation. I was thankful for the discount we received since I definitely don't think it was worth the cost for my 15 year old. The movie that they play about the area needs to be improved GREATLY. I don't even see how that even touched on the HUGE amount of history that can be found in that area. I was definitely hoping for a lot more information which this museum seriously lacks.

Visited October 2013
Thank momof4inmd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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