National Sporting Library and Museum

Did you know there’s a museum devoted to the sport and culture of equestrianism? Okay, so it does include other things, but there’s a lot of horse going on here. It’s called the National Sporting Library and Museum, and it’s located in hunt country/horse country, Middleburg Virginia. They offer exhibitions, educational programs, and family activities throughout the year. George Morris comes here regularly for talks, and he’ll be here again this fall! 

I have wanted to go for a while so I decided now was the time. I had noticed an exhibition on sidesaddle last year that I missed, and I wasn’t going to miss more interesting exhibitions. 

thoroughbred stallion sea hero
Sea Hero, bred in Virginia by Paul Mellon.

One of the rotating exhibits is called NSLMology: The Science of Sporting Art. I didn’t understand what it was before I went in, but once I started reading the descriptions, I understood, and it was amazing. They provided analysis of the weather portrayed based on the clouds shown and the colors, information on why certain elements (like the people) were interacting in different ways, and why horses were portrayed in different ways.

It was so informative, interesting, and by far my favorite part of the museum. I wish all museum had this analyst beside the art. It would really help out those of us who don’t understand art beyond the most elementary level (me). I highly recommend visiting the museum just to see this section. 

I enjoy pictures of chickens, so, therefore, everyone must. Look at these chickens! (There was an explanation of these chickens, too. Greatly appreciated!)

One of the other rotating collections was CANTER & crawl: The Glass Sculpture of Joan Danziger. While I did not get explanations like the other section, I still greatly enjoyed viewing these. They are impressive pieces of work. 

Think these are small?
Guess again!

I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, so, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to look at the library as well. But the Museum is definitely worth checking out on its own, especially if you’re already in the area for another horse interest. 

The National Sporting Library & Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10am – 5pm. It costs $10 to get into the Museum and the Library is always free. Admission to the Museum is free on Wednesdays. Their blog provides a fascinating inside look at their exhibits and provides behind the scenes information on how they operate. 

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