Art on the Trails: Installations
Installations ranging from a mobile hanging inside a renovated 1950s-era silo to a sound installation and an outdoor photography exhibition showcasing the famed Appalachian Trail make a visit to The Trails at the MSV a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience.
Give Me Shelter: Scenic Views of the Appalachian Trail, 2020
Sarah Jones Decker (American)
Digital photographs on metal
This outdoor photography installation includes 15 photographs of the Appalachian Trail (AT). One of the most popular hiking trails in the world, the AT has more than 275 backcountry shelters on its 2,192-mile route.
Photographer, author, and Frederick County, Virginia, native Sarah Jones Decker thru-hiked the AT in 2008 and re-hiked it again in 2018 and 2019, often joined by her infant daughter, for a documentary project that resulted in her book The Appalachian Trail: Backcountry Shelters, Lean-Tos, and Huts. Released in April of 2020, the 304-page publication chronicles the history of the AT’s shelters with photos, information, and detailed maps.
Decker’s publication and a selection of her photographic prints are available for purchase in the Museum Store.
Silo Skyline, 2020
Andrew White (American, 1981–2023) and Jack McAllister (American, b. 1938)
Engineering and mechanical construction: Brett Phillips, Crider & Phillips, LLC, Woodstock, Virginia
Iron, aluminum, aluminum mesh, steel, paint
Conceived, commissioned, and funded by Dr. Jack McAllister.
For this restored 1950s silo, long-time MSV supporter Dr. McAllister wanted a non-electronic, interactive installation. Silo Skyline depicts the mountains, birds, and sky of the Lower Shenandoah Valley. Area residents might be able to spot the Woodstock Tower and Signal Knob of Massanutten mountain. A hand crank allows visitors to set the clouds and the birds of the interior mobile in motion. The movement of the birds and clouds is also affected by heat and wind.
The Stumpery, 2022
Jack McAllister (American, b. 1938)
Located in a wooded area near the Handley-Kerr gate entrance to The Trails at the MSV is The Stumpery. Former physician, MSV supporter, and fine woodworker, Jack McAllister, wanted to find a use for the many trees that were felled in preparing for the Trails at the MSV. He also wanted to create an area where young guests could interact with the materials and explore. McAllister formed scrap stumps and planks into a playland for climbing.
Surroundings: A Catalog of Aspects for Digital Choir, 2022
Chance Morris (American)
This outdoor sound installation near the horticultural center and garden kaleidoscope sculpture exists at the intersection between the natural world and the spoken word. As visitors approach the source of the sound, their ears might detect voices listing aspects, or qualities, of the Shenandoah Valley, including words like “dogwood” and “pileated woodpecker.” These words are harmonized into a choral-like composition. Depending on where one stands, the sound changes and a new “song” emerges. To begin, stand on the millstone. Then move around the space to hear variations and modulations. The piece is on a loop. Stay for several seconds or listen for many minutes.
Surroundings was created by Chance Morris, a student in the Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University, and a Shenandoah Valley native. Morris’s concept was to “bring the background into the foreground” by “creating an absolute reminder of our surroundings.” That reminder takes the form of spoken descriptive words. Morris engaged community participants to create the voices for the digital choir. He then used software to manipulate the words electronically to create the piece.
The Trails at the MSV is a 90-acre art park on the grounds of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Notable sculpture, art installations, and landscape features are highlighted on the Trails map.
A free admission-art park, The Trails at the MSV is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk.