Garden developments spearhead museum’s spring season

Water from the town run cascades over this small waterfall outside Glen Burnie in Winchester. The original house dates back to 1794. Rich Cooley/Daily
Horticulturist Chantal Ludder checks on some pansies inside the greenhouse at Glen Burnie. Rich Cooley/Daily
Julie Armel, deputy director of communications for the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, stands inside the drawing room of the Glen Burnie House under a portrait of George Washington which is part of the Julian Wood Glass Jr. estate. Rich Cooley/Daily
Stone mason Ben Smallwood builds a wall around this new pond on the grounds of Glen Burnie. Work on the new garden should be complete in May. Rich Cooley/Daily
Daffodils start to spring up in the Parterre Garden at Glen Burnie. Rich Cooley/Daily

For residents, gardeners or history buffs, the forthcoming spring season at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley will feature a bevy of exhibitions, events and workshops.

Starting April 1, the museum will give the public its first season-long experience of fresh renovations and additions to the Glen Burnie Home and Gardens.

Reopened as a public residence last summer, Glen Burnie will come equipped with a new s pring garden as well as new exhibits for this season — among many more offerings.

Julie Armel, the museum’s deputy director of communications, said the new spring garden “is the first garden to be added to the formal Glen Burnie Gardens since the site opened.”

In preparation for the opening of the spring garden, Armel explained that museum staff “planted more than 13,000 bulbs” last fall. Of those, Perry Mathewes, the museum’s director of gardens, said 10,000 daffodils were added to the new garden.

The garden, Mathewes added, is a “very large, linear garden. It’s very long and narrow; it’s only about a couple of hundred feet wide at the widest.”

This spring, the museum will also be opening the first in a series of exhibitions in the drawing room of the Glen Burnie House on April 1 with “The Beauty of Botany.”

The exhibition, Armel added, will feature “22 botanical-themed works — primarily watercolors — from seven botanical artists.”

“Gardens are such a large part of this museum’s complex and we thought … visitors would enjoy seeing them in the house setting,” she said, “And then have the ability to walk out of the drawing room into the gardens here.”

Armel added, “What ‘Beauty in Botany’ will illustrate is the versatility of … the new Glen Burnie.”

On top of that, Armel said, “Eight of the plant subjects featured in the artwork are found in the Glen Burnie Gardens.

“That’s why we thought the house was a perfect venue for the botanical exhibition.”

Armel also noted that people visiting the museum or, more specifically, the gardens during the month of April, can expect to see “lots of work on-going.”

The on-going work has also included a replanting and reconfiguration of the museum’s rose garden, which Armel said the museum expects to be completed with the “first blooms sometime in June.”

“We’ve spent the winter increasing accessibility. There’s spaces that, for the first time, are accessible to all visitors,” Armel said.

“There’s many roses that are in what we call a rose walkway, and they really weren’t thriving. They really weren’t getting the sun that they needed,” Armel said. “We’re moving them to a larger garden.”

She said there will be “hundreds of new plantings” as well as increased accessibility for visitors.

Mathewes indicated that there will be about 300 roses of various kinds “when it’s all said and done.”

The upcoming season will also mark the museum’s 10th anniversary.

In celebration, the museum will be opening a new exhibit that will run from April 28 through May 1, 2016 called “Collect, Preserve and Interpret: 10 Years at the MSV.”

According to Armel, this exhibit will serve the purpose of highlighting the museum’s Shenandoah Valley collection as well as “feature new acquisitions and recently conserved acquisitions.”

This celebration will also include “objects from the vault” as well as special programs, Armel said.

On May 9, the museum will be opening an exhibit for artist Mort Künstler. “We have been talking with [Mort] Künstler for several years about this exhibition,” Armel said.

Armel noted, “Many people who live in the Shenandoah Valley area know his name as one of the most renowned contemporary Civil War artists.”

With the upcoming exhibit, Armel explained that the museum will not only be looking to showcase some of Künstler’s original Civil War paintings, but also a slightly lesser known side of his work.

“Many people who know him as a Civil War artist are surprised to see that he had a 60-year career as an illustrator,” Armel said, noting that Künstler has “done everything from book jacket covers and movie posters.”

In addition, Armel noted that residents will have a chance to meet Künstler on May 9 when the exhibit opens as well as on July 11.

Outside of those developments, Armel said the museum will be hosting popular mainstays such as the Gardens at Night concert series and monthly garden walkabouts.

More information about upcoming events and workshops at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley can be found at

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or

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