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February 24, 2009

Leading American and British scholars to discuss textile furnishings for interiors during 2009 symposium

For more than 25 years, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has taken the lead in reinterpreting the use of textiles in historic interiors from the 18th century. The symposium, “‘A Very Large Curious & Compleat Assortment’: Textiles for Interiors, 1730-1830,” gathers the leading American and English scholars in the field to review the design and composition of textile furnishings, including upholstery, bed and window treatments, and floor coverings. The program will be held Sept. 20-22 at the Williamsburg Woodlands conference center.

Nancy N. Campbell, chairman emeritus, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Williamsburg, Va., will welcome guests. Keynote speaker Annabel Westman of Historic Furnishing Textiles of London, England, will open the symposium with “A Most Splendid Appearance.”

Presenters include: Elisabeth Garrett Widmer, scholar and author, Cornish, N.H., “‘Agreeable to your liking’: Dressing up the House in Early America”; Anthony Wells Cole, independent scholar, Leeds, England, “‘Modern ideas of comfort’: Textile Floor-coverings in England, 1730-1830”; and Lynne Dakin Hastings, vice president, museum operations, The Montpelier Foundation, Orange, Va., “Gathering the Threads: Unravelling Interiors and Textiles Sources.”

Additional presenters include: Natalie Larson, independent textile scholar, Williamsburg, Va., “From Cornice to Mattress: Treasures from Historic American Homes”; Jane C. Nylander, president emerita, Historic New England (SPNEA), Portsmouth, N.H., “Window Curtain Design, Cut, and Construction”; Gail Caskey Winkler, lecturer, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, University of Pennsylvania, and independent consultant, Philadelphia, “Pattern Books”; and Linda Eaton, curator of textiles, Winterthur Museum & Country Estates, Winterthur, Del., “Colonial Revival.”

Colonial Williamsburg curators who are participating in the program include: Linda Baumgarten, curator of textiles and costumes, “Out of the Linen Closet”; Kimberly Smith Ivey, associate curator of textiles and historic interiors, “Home Furnishing Textiles”; and Tara Gleason Chicirda, curator of furniture, “Upholstery for Seating Furniture.”

Several tours and workshops are available for an additional fee and include:

  • “Textile Conservation Laboratory Tour,” Loreen Finkelstein, Colonial Williamsburg conservator of textiles;
  • “Furniture Conservation Laboratory Tour,” Christopher M. Swan, Colonial Williamsburg conservator of furniture;
  • “Not Just for Chairs: Slipcovers, Case Covers, Loose Covers,” Natalie Larson, independent textile scholar, Williamsburg, Va.
  • “Eighteenth-century Sewing Stitches,” Beth Gerhold, Colonial Williamsburg textile refurnisher;
  • “Textiles Storage Tour,” Linda Baumgarten and Kim Ivey; and
  • “Floorcloths,” Ginny Lascara, Black Dog Gallery, Yorktown, Va.

    Because it is more and more difficult to find authentic reproduction textiles, hardware, passementerie and qualified fabricators, Colonial Williamsburg will provide a venue for well respected vendors and booksellers who are able to supply the essential resources for fabricating authentic textile décor.

    Textile for Interiors 2009 Symposium registration can be done by mail, fax, phone or online at Registration for the general public is $295. Full-time museum professionals can register at the discounted rate of $147.50 per person. Preregistration and payment in full are required. Payment can be made in the form of check, or charged to American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard. Registration includes Sunday’s opening reception, Monday’s evening reception, a buffet lunch on Monday and Tuesday, three coffee breaks, presentations and a Colonial Williamsburg admission pass valid for the duration of the conference.

    There are four easy ways to register for the Textile for Interiors 2009 Symposium:

  • Online:
  • Phone: 1-800-603-0948, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. EST
  • Fax: (757) 565-8921
  • Mail: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Conferences, Forums and Workshops, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, Va. 23187-1776.

    Special hotel rates are available at the Colonial Williamsburg Resort Collection for symposium registrants. Hotel rates are for single or double occupancy, per night and do not include applicable taxes. For more information and reservations, call 1-800-261-9530.

    Distinctive dining options are offered throughout the Colonial Williamsburg Resort Collection and in the Historic Area. From a classically elegant setting to a more casual atmosphere to signature tavern dining experiences, each of Colonial Williamsburg’s restaurants and taverns is within steps of the conference facilities. Dining reservations can be made by calling 1-800-261-9530, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg offers a full menu of services. A team of world-renowned experts have collaborated to create a spa that exudes southern charm, harmonizes with its historical surroundings, reflects its colonial heritage, and honors traditions of health and wellness throughout American culture. To make your reservation call: 1-800-688-6479.

    For more than 25 years, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has taken the lead in reinterpreting the use of textiles in historic interiors from the 18th century. To obtain this image, contact Penna Rogers at (757) 220-7121 or through e-mail at

    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 guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

    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

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