Added New Positions Advance Goals of Recently Unveiled MSV Master Plan

Winchester, VA., 12/11/13…The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) announces the addition of four members to its staff, with three hired to serve in newly created positions that advance the goals of the Museum’s recently unveiled Master Plan.

Nancy M. Huth, curator of education at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, Ohio, will serve as deputy director of arts and education, horticultural expert Charles Peronneau “Perry” Mathewes will be director of gardens, and fundraising professional Belinda “Dee Dee” Barbour will be the manager of annual giving and membership. All three are filling newly created MSV positions. Educator Daniel Curry Schiavone is filling the existing position of coordinator of youth and family programs. Mathewes and Schiavone began their tenure at the MSV in late November; Barbour and Huth will start work at the MSV in January of 2014.

According to MSV Executive Director Dana Hand Evans, the new staff positions illustrate the Museum’s commitment to advance goals outlined in the Museum’s 2013–2018 Strategic Plan and its recently announced Master Plan. To accomplish these goals, says Evans, the MSV is expanding the staff and restructuring various functions into several major divisions, each headed by a newly created position of deputy director. As the MSV Strategic Plan places educational programming and exhibitions at the forefront of Museum activities, the first division created under this vision expands and combines the collections and education departments in order to develop exhibitions and programming in an aligned, integrated fashion.

As the first MSV deputy director, Nancy Huth will oversee the new division of arts and education. In this capacity, she will direct development of exhibitions, educational programming, and research initiatives; manage acquisitions, care, and presentation of the collection; and oversee the volunteer program. With more than 25 years of museum experience, Huth has been serving as curator of education on the senior management team at the Taft Museum of Art since 2008. There she managed all aspects of educational programming and served as installing curator for three traveling exhibitions. Among her many accomplishments, she expanded the museum’s programming to include family days; an arts-integrated school program; weekly lunchtime talks; highlights, exhibition, and garden tours; and a weekend volunteer program. In addition, she was actively involved in the Taft’s 2010 reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum and one that the MSV plans to seek.

Huth’s previous experience includes managing adult programs at The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, and teaching at the Community College of Baltimore County. She also was an instructor at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, and assistant director and curator of education at the university’s Museum of Art. Huth’s degrees include a master of arts in art history from Oberlin College, Ohio, and a bachelor of fine arts in art history from Ohio University.   

Horticultural expert Perry Mathewes also brings more than 25 years of experience to the MSV senior management team. As the new MSV director of gardens, Mathewes will provide a vision for and oversee the stewardship and development of the gardens and grounds, including the rehabilitation of the Glen Burnie Gardens and the creation of new garden spaces as outlined in the Museum’s Master Plan. He will lead all MSV horticultural initiatives and oversee expansion of garden-related educational programming and research.  

Previously Mathewes was education program manager and interim director of education and communications for Norfolk Botanical Garden. In that role he oversaw visitor programs; produced interpretive and educational materials and programs; edited the organization’s website and member magazine; presented classes, lectures, and workshops; and developed and managed a streaming video system to view a bald eagle nest in the garden.

Mathewes’s previous experience also includes serving as landscape superintendent/curator of gardens at the 25-acre Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens, New Bern, North Carolina. He also was exhibitions consultant for the Museum of the Southeast, Midland, Texas, and assistant manager of the Virginia Historical Society’s Virginia House in Richmond. Mathewes studied at the Université Paul Valery in France and has a bachelor of arts in history degree from Davidson College in North Carolina. He and his wife, Melanie, reside in Loudoun County, where she became executive director of the National Sporting Library & Museum earlier this year.

A lifelong resident of the Shenandoah Valley, Dee Dee Barbour will be the Museum’s first manager of annual giving and membership and will focus on growing the Museum’s Membership and managing fundraising efforts for the MSV Annual Fund. A fundraising professional with more than nine years of experience, Barbour has advanced the development efforts of several of Winchester’s most respected nonprofits. She has served as director of development at the Free Medical Clinic of NSV, senior advancement officer at Shenandoah University, and capital campaign director at Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, where she raised more than $7 million in pledges toward its capital campaign. A business administration graduate from Lord Fairfax Community College, Barbour has a bachelor of science in organizational leadership degree from Mountain State University, Beckley, West Virginia.

Finally, also new on the MSV staff is Winchester-resident Curry Schiavone. As coordinator of youth and family programs, Schiavone will develop and manage all youth and family programs. A father of two, Schiavone’s previous experience includes serving Powhatan School, where he taught art to elementary and middle school students, organized class trips, and helped to develop an outdoor education program. He also has served as a long-term substitute teacher for Winchester and Frederick County Public Schools, including John Kerr Elementary, Evendale Elementary, and Handley High School. Schiavone earned his bachelor of arts in art degree from the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

Located at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley campus includes the Glen Burnie House, six acres of gardens, and a 50,000-square-foot museum that tells the story of the region’s art, history, and culture and hosts a variety of changing exhibitions. Last month the MSV announced a new Master Plan to guide the development of the Museum’s campus—the largest green space in the City of Winchester—into a cultural park for the City of Winchester and the greater Shenandoah Valley community. Highlights of the Museum’s Master and Strategic Plans are online in the “About the MSV” section on