Nick Powers is a native of Winchester and became interested in the history and material culture of the Shenandoah Valley at a young age. Nick completed his undergraduate work at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, where he majored in History and minored in Historical Archaeology. While with the JMU Archaeology Department, Nick assisted in the excavations at the nearby Cedar Creek Battlefield. Nick later graduated from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware. There he completed his Master’s thesis on early cabinetmaking in Winchester and Frederick County. After leaving Winterthur, Nick returned home to join the staff of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley as Curator of Collections. There he oversees, researches, and exhibits the fine and decorative arts of the Shenandoah Valley ranging from the earliest settlements to the present day. Nick is a three-time graduate of the MESDA Summer Institute and last summer participated in the Classical Institute of the South Field Research Fellowship, a program that documents objects made and used in the nineteenth-century Gulf South.

“The Rosy Red and the Violet blue”: Valentine’s Day in the Shenandoah Valley

Published Date: 
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Author: 

It’s February, which means in a couple of days people of all ages will be exchanging Valentine’s Day cards filled with cheesy lines we all know (and love?).

by Curator of Collections Nick Powers

In fact, approximately 190 million Americans send or receive valentines each year. This doesn’t include the millions of cards made by school children in their classes.[i]

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Preserving the Present for the Future

Published Date: 
Friday, June 19, 2020
Author: 

Current events are impacting every aspect of life in the Shenandoah Valley. The Covid-19 pandemic has closed schools and businesses. Store shelves have been emptied of toilet paper and meat. Individuals have made thousands of cloth masks. The killing of George Floyd has led to protests and marches throughout the Valley reflective of the struggle for social justice.

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A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Your Keys Go in the Basket

Published Date: 
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Author: 

With Easter approaching, thoughts naturally turn to children toting colorful baskets filled with equally vivid dyed eggs. But with the coronavirus threatening to put public gatherings like Easter egg hunts on hold, I thought this might present an opportunity to talk about another type of basket formerly found in Valley households: key baskets.

by Curator of Collections Nick Powers 

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Celebrating Powell W. Gibson (1875-1959): Educator, Playwright, and Author

Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Author: 

Powell W. Gibson (1875-1959) is best remembered in Shenandoah Valley history as the principal of the segregated Douglas School in Winchester for a quarter of its nearly century-long history. 

by Curator of Collections Nick Powers

Later this month, Winchester historian Judy Humbert will share some of her recollections of the Douglas School that Gibson helped build in the second of the MSV’s new Lunch & Learn series.

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Grave Matters: Digging Up the History of the Wood-Glass Family Cemetery

Published Date: 
Friday, October 25, 2019
Author: 


Cemetery. Graveyard. God’s Acre. Burial ground. We have many names to describe the places in which our loved ones rest eternally, and just as many opinions about how creepy (or benign) they are.

By Curator of Collections Nick Powers

For some people—particularly around this time of year as Halloween approaches—cemeteries are the frightening abodes of the dead.

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