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August 12, 2008

DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum explores the history of the American flag

Discover the creation of the American flag as it evolves from spectacular Revolutionary battle flags to its modern rendering through Colonial Williamsburg museum exhibits. A guided tour explores the history of the American flag at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum.

Guests will discover flags in the works of art throughout the museum and learn more about four extraordinary American Revolutionary War battle flags on display in the exhibit, “Captured Colors: Four Battle Flags of the American Revolution.” Following the interactive tour, children will have the opportunity to use felt to design their own American flag to take home. Perfect for families, the interactive “Captured Colors” tour may be enjoyed at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 and 20 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum.

The “Captured Colors: Four Battle Flags of the American Revolution” special exhibition displays four rare and prized battle flags of the American Revolution returned to America more than 225 years after being taken to British soil as trophies of war by the firebrand British cavalry officer, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton. Banastre captured the flags in two battles nearly a year apart and the flags had remained in the Tarleton family’s possession until their sale at auction at Sotheby’s New York on Flag Day, June 14, 2006.

Three of the silk flags represent the 3rd Virginia Detachment led by Col. Abraham Buford, whose unit surrendered the banners in a 1780 clash at Waxhaws, S.C. The Buford standards – a main regimental flag and two divisional flags – are the only intact set of battle flags surviving from the American Revolution. The remarkable exhibit will be on display until Jan. 9, 2009, before the flags return to their private owner.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, Good Neighbor Card or museums ticket provides access to enjoy the “Captured Colors” tour and the Foundation’s extensive collections of British and American decorative and folk art.

Entrance to the museums is through the Public Hospital of 1773 at 326 W. Francis Street. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For information and reservations call (757) 220-7724.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®,” a dramatic live street theater presentation, is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121