The National Sporting Library and Museum (NSLM) is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the culture of field sports, angling, and equestrian pursuits. A research Library and fine art Museum, the NSLM sits on an idyllic campus in the town of Middleburg, the heart of Virginia’s hunt country. It was founded in 1954 by George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., president of the Orange County Hunt, Alexander Mackay-Smith, editor of The Chronicle of the Horse, Lester Karow of Savannah, and Fletcher Harper, MFH Orange County. The National Sporting Library and Museum brings the tradition of turf and field sports to the public through exhibits, lectures, seminars, publications, and special events.
The Library houses over 20,000 books, periodicals and archive collections on foxhunting, horse racing, angling, equitation, wing shooting and many other topics. The Library is strong in fiction, with works by Will James, R.S. Surtees, Irish writers Edith Somerville, Martin Ross and others. In addition, it houses private collections such as the papers of Harry Worcester Smith, sportsman, author, and Masters of Foxhounds Association founder. There are also collections of early American sporting periodicals, including The Spirit of the Times and The American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine. The library’s oldest and rarest materials (dating to the 16th century) are housed in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Books Room.
The Museum houses the art collection that includes paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative arts ranging from the 17th through 21st centuries. Like the Library collections, the art collection represents a variety of subjects related to field sports. Field sports encompass a wide range of traditional outdoor sports, such as angling, shooting, and the many types of equestrian pursuits, including racing, polo, and foxhunting. Sporting scenes, portraiture, landscape, genre scenes, and animal art are included in the holdings. The collection is currently strongest in 19th and early-20th century American and British artwork, and equestrian subjects in particular. The permanent art collection now includes over 800 objects and contains artwork by Herbert Haseltine, Edward Troye, Sir Alfred Munnings, Paul Brown, and many others.