Museum adopts new logo, sets to work on enhancement

This is an artist's rendering of the new Amherst Street entrance to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, which will be the first project in the new phase of its master plan. Image courtesy of OWSW Siteworks
Howard Baker, left, and Carla Leen of AdVision Sign Company install one of two new Museum of the Shenandoah Valley signs at the Amherst Street entrance bearing the museum's new logo. Photo courtesy of MSV/Rick Foster

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley now bears a new logo to go with the new phase of development it’s entering.

Dana Hand Evans, executive director of the museum, said fundraising is now underway for the second phase of the museum’s master plan. With a projected cost of more than $7 million, this phase will be transforming the museum campus into an art park with a new entryway, art installations and 3.5 miles of trails crossing the museum campus.

Evans said half of that funding will be the match portion of a grant from the Glass-Glen Burnie Foundation. She said the museum has a deadline to raise its $3.7 million by Dec, 31, 2018.

The first element to be completed in the second phase will be the museum’s new entryway next to James Wood Middle School, which will require $1.5 million of the project’s allotted funds.

Evans said that the initial designs for the galleries and the campus were planned with such an entrance in mind, and that the existing road will eventually serve as a faculty entrance or an overflow exit for large events. If all goes smoothly, she said the museum could start on that element by this time next year.

“As soon as we have the main entrance done, the main roadway and the main trail…the rest will either depend with partnerships with the city…or donors and community supports, and grant support,” she said.

She said the remaining projects will come through as they’re funded and that some would be a perfect fit for certain grants.

“We’re always looking, and we have several outstanding grant applications for these projects,” she said.

Other parts to this new second phase include opening up 90 acres of campus land to visitors with freely accessible trails that connect to neighboring parts of Winchester, setting up an event lawn, constructing a horticultural facility and expanding the facility’s parking to provide for more than double the amount of spaces it has now.

Evans said that several follies, or small structures like the museum’s existing Pink Pavilion and Tea Pagoda, will serve as multipurpose additions to the grounds. First off, as per museum tradition, she said the museum will be repurposing the silo on campus as a folly with a lookout area and room for contemporary art installments by Shenandoah Valley artists.

She said that a large portion of the 214 acres on campus would remain agricultural grazing land, with the pathways fenced off to keep cattle in.

Later on, the museum would enter into the consecutive six phases spelled out in its Master Plan. Those phases would furnish the campus with a crab apple orchard, Orientation Center, Arts and Education Center, expansions of trails and gardens and an amphitheater that Evans said could host 3,000 guests on campus for large, national acts. She said the museum has already worked with Shenandoah University’s conservatory on designs for the amphitheatre “as a collaborative business plan to co-manage.”

Like the museum’s existing structures, she said many of the new elements would generate their own revenue by serving as a rentable event space.

“Each piece has its own business plan so that it can be sustainable,” she said.

After the long process of drawing up the museum’s Strategic Plan and Master Plan, Evans said the first phase took around 18 months to complete. Continuing with developments, she said each phase would probably last from two to three years.

“It’s been a labor of love, I think, for our staff, our board, our volunteers, the city…the whole valley,” she said.

ON THE NET:

Learn more about the museum’s master plan at http://tinyurl.com/goxn3ej.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com

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