My Favorite Place in Winchester…

Last week, the kids and I went to Winchester to visit my mom. My granny was having a birthday, so she was in. So much fun to see her and the kids interact!

Gran's birthday is Flag Day, thus all the patriotic headgear.
Gran’s birthday is Flag Day, thus all the patriotic headgear.

The day after Granny’s birthday party, the kids and I met up with Mom and Gary at my favorite place in Winchester—the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. The museum itself is an eclectic one, featuring fine art, massive dollhouses, several rooms done up like area homes of different eras, and a large collection of pie safes. We were there particularly to see the traveling exhibit, a collection of lithographs by Alfonse Mucha. They were fantastic. Huge, and so detailed! My favorite part was a whole room of theater posters he did for plays featuring Sarah Bernhardt. He captured her unusual sort of beauty perfectly.

The kids seemed to like the images, although they were both a bit floppy and tired. The museum does a nice job of inviting younger visitors into the real exhibits, including (in this case) cards with details to find in each of the pictures, and one of them cut up into a puzzle that the kids could do. The docent on duty when we were there was lovely. She pointed out details to the kids and asked them questions, but didn’t talk down to them at all. Silas wasn’t ready to leave when I declared that they’d reached their expiration point; but Petra was thoroughly done, and we definitely needed to roll. (also, no photos in the exhibit, so I don’t have any of my kids next to these tremendous prints, boo!)

Luckily, the place we rolled to was at least as good. MSV is on the grounds of an old mansion, and it still has some of that original landscaping—some seven acres of formal gardens, including fish ponds, a water garden, a rose garden, a labyrinth, a tunnel, and a Chinese garden. Guess where we ended up spending most of our time…

We managed to explore some other bits, though. The kids were especially fascinated with the statuary, of which there is a lot. They do have colors in those gardens, but all the pictures I took over there looked best in black and white.

The Mucha exhibit is running through the end of July. If you haven’t been to the MSV, now is a good time to go. It’s free on Wednesdays, and they often have evening concerts and other events.

If you find the Mucha as inspiring as I did, please do share!


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