On November 25th, 90 acres of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley property opened to the community for the first time as a free-admission art park called The Trails at the MSV.
90 acres of the largest green space in the city of Winchester open to the public—for free, year-round—with more than three miles of trails for walking, running and biking through fields, woods, and wetlands. This network of dog-friendly trails is open year-round from 7 a.m. to dusk.
The Trails at the MSV includes engaging outdoor art and a new museum entrance. Located near James Wood Middle School, the entrance includes a parking area for trail users and a scenic new entry road to the MSV as originally envisioned by the MSV architect Michael Graves. Along with this new Amherst entrance, a pedestrian entrance on Jefferson Street also opened on November 25th.
In announcing the opening of the project, MSV Executive Director and CEO Dana Hand Evans said, “Our community needs hope, excitement, and access to green space more than ever right now. We invite people to enjoy the Trails now and then witness the installation of the park’s finishing touches in the weeks ahead.”
The first phase of the opening of The Trails of the MSV will offer the public approximately 1.8 miles of ADA-accessible trails and an additional half-mile of non-ADA trails. Beyond that, plans call for additional pathways, such as a Wetlands Trail and Floating Boardwalk, scheduled to be finished sometime this month. (See a map of the Trails here.)
When the Wetlands section is complete, visitors may access the Trails via a new pedestrian entrance and walk an ADA-accessible, 2.25-mile loop around the property.
Other developments to come in 2021 include, the addition of another mile of rustic grass and mulch trails; the installation of the outdoor photography exhibition “Give Me Shelter: Scenic Views of the Appalachian Trails.” by Sarah Jones Decker; and a treehouse built around a walnut tree.
Take a Walk & See Some Art
Artwork currently set up along the trail includes the following. (More artwork will be displayed in the coming weeks.)
- Compa Rojo (My Friend Red) made in 2019 by Mexican American artist Alejandro Martin Moreno Alonso
- Pentangle, a bronze work made in 1982 by American artist Rubin Peacock and on loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
- Silo Skyline, an interactive mobile installed in the Silo featuring moving iron birds and clouds that the visitor may put into motion using a hand crank. The artwork was made in 2020 by a team of Valley artisans, including internationally known metalsmith Andrew White, Jack McAllister, and engineer Brett Phillips, of Crider & Phillips.
The MSV galleries and seven acres of formal gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. January through March. The Museum’s Glen Burnie House and Gardens are open April through December, and the galleries are open year-round.