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.

Capturing Autumn: Garnet Jex's "Fishing Camp"

Published Date: 
Monday, September 23, 2019
Author: 

Fall in the Shenandoah Valley means one thing: color. The leaves on the many oaks, maples, dogwoods, and other native trees begin to fade from deep green to brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow.

By Curator of Collections Nick Powers

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National Walnut Day 2019

Published Date: 
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Author: 

Happy National Walnut Day! While this holiday was created to celebrate the hard-shelled nut the walnut tree produces, we are instead “going nuts” about a few objects made with the beautifully-grained wood at the heart of the tree.

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Happy National Pet Day!

Published Date: 
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Author: 

Have you met some of our favorite furry friends?

Potter Samuel Bell (1811-1891) of Winchester made this pair of molded whippet figurines in 1841. Whippets are an English sighthound breed descended from greyhounds. The Bell family of potters made numerous whippets as decorative pieces for Valley homes, some of which retain their original paint decoration.

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National Beer Day at the MSV 2019

Published Date: 
Sunday, April 7, 2019
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Raise a glass to celebrate National Beer Day with this beer stein in the MSV Collection! National Beer Day began right here in the Old Dominion in 2009, but Virginians have enjoyed “cold ones” for centuries.

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Creative by Nature: The Art of Robert L. Cross

Published Date: 
Monday, January 21, 2019
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A one-of-a-kind piece of Valley folk art from the MSV Collection is an honoree  in Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Competition. Online voting for the competition is taking place through midnight on January 31. Learn the about artist Robert Cross and vote for the MSV!

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“Ask For Whitlocks’ Renowned Remedies”: Good For All That Ails You?

Published Date: 
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Author: 


It’s cold and flu season, which means people turn to their preferred doctor to alleviate coughing, sore throats, runny noses, and worse. In late 1800s and early 1900s Winchester, one of the men who filled that role was Dr. William Joseph Whitlock (1849-1921). An herbal physician and his own best salesman, Whitlock left behind several small medicine cabinets that advertised his “Whitlocks’ Renowned Remedies,” including one in the MSV Collection.

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Still Kicking!: The Foltz Family’s Spirited History

Published Date: 
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Author: 

For the past three years, the MSV has participated in the Virginia Association of Museums’ Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program. This year, the MSV is nominating a copper still pot, cap, and coils used in the late 1800s by the James C. Foltz Distillery in Edinburg, Virginia until state officials enacted Prohibition in 1916.

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