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Finding Fleming Jordan: A Free Black Barber in the Shenandoah Valley

One of the many stories told in the new exhibition, Contributions: African Americans in the Shenandoah Valley, is that of free Blacks living in the region. Including those who were either born free or achieved their freedom through manumission (release from enslavement), free blacks in Virginia numbered approximately 58,000 people just before the Civil War … Continued

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The Moon and the MSV

This past Full Moon on November 19, we took a group out on the Trails to experience the nighttime environment for the second time since opening the Trails to the public. The moon was stunning, if tough to capture on a cell phone camera. When you think about a Full Moon, what comes to mind? … Continued

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National Geographic at the MSV

Was there ever a time in your life when you saw the yellow spine of a National Geographic magazine and didn’t feel even the slightest curiosity about what was inside its pages? I still remember the anticipation I would feel as a small child waiting for my dad to unwrap a new issue so I … Continued

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Animals at the MSV

By Perry Mathewes, Deputy Director, Museum Operations and Director of Gardens One of the great things about working in the MSV Gardens is that you get to spend lots of time around beautiful plants and nature. Yes, there is the drudgery of weeding, mulching and other mundane tasks, but there are also sublime moments as … Continued

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And the Award Goes To…Education and Rewards of Merit in the Shenandoah Valley

As Covid-19 vaccines became more readily available this spring and summer, Virginia school officials began developing strategies to restore full-time, in-person learning. Local and regional schoolteachers now face the important but unenviable task of reintroducing students to classroom settings after those students spent over a year in front of computer and tablet screens. To make … Continued

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The Legacy of Juneteenth: Past and Present

On June 19th, 1865, Union forces commanded by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, on the Gulf Coast. Two years following President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, word of their freedom finally reached the ears of the estimated 250,000 enslaved people in the South’s most isolated state (with an army to enforce the order). … Continued

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Decoding Life and Landscape at Glen Burnie

MSV founder Julian Wood Glass Jr. (1910–1992) and his committed partner of over two decades, R. Lee Taylor (1924–2000), met in New York City in 1947 following service in World War II. For LGBTQ Americans of their generation, the second World War was a watershed moment. Over the course of the conflict, thousands of gay … Continued

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Douglas School Spotlight: Dr. Madison Spencer Briscoe

Beginning in 1878, African American students in grades one through nine had attended classes at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church at 306 Piccadilly Street, which was renamed Douglas School in 1916 to honor the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Classes were also held in the basement of Mount Carmel Free Will Baptist Church at its location … Continued

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Douglas School Spotlight: Annie Turner Finley Baltimore

Douglas School in Winchester, Virginia served local and regional African American students. Beginning in 1878, African American students in grades one through nine had attended classes at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church at 306 Piccadilly Street, which was renamed Douglas School in 1916 to honor the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Classes were also held in … Continued

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