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March 9, 2010

Discuss "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" with Thomas Jefferson at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

Every American knows who wrote the Declaration of Independence, but now guests to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum can meet Thomas Jefferson, portrayed by Colonial Williamsburg interpreter Bill Barker, as he recollects the writing of our nation’s founding document. “Jefferson Discusses the Declaration” is held at 12:30 p.m. every Wednesday from March 17 through June 2 (except April 28).

During the program, Jefferson will recall the historical sources, the contemporary events and his personal philosophy that contributed to the writing of the Declaration in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776.

A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

The program is held in conjunction with the exhibition “Declarations of Independence” at the Wallace Museum, which was made possible by a gift from the family of Valerie and Barry Boone. The exhibit features five unique copies of the Declaration that were printed in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the document in 1826. One of the copies, one of 30 still in existence, is an official version created by William Stone in 1823 to present to the surviving signers of the Declaration and other government officials.

Programs and exhibitions at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, museum pass or Good Neighbor Card provides access to this program.

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2010. The Wallace Museum, which opened in 1985, features 15 galleries in 25,000 square feet of exhibition space as well as an auditorium and a café. The museum houses the Foundation’s renowned collection of British and American fine and decorative arts dating from 1600 through 1830. Featured in regularly changing exhibitions, these include the world’s largest collection of Southern furniture; nationally important holdings in English silver and pewter; a vast collection of 18th-century clothing and textiles; and one of the largest collections of British ceramics outside England. Masterworks and period pieces acquired for Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area exhibition buildings enhance the museum’s holdings in furniture, metals, ceramics, glass, paintings, prints, maps, tools, weapons, numismatics and textiles.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at 326 W. Francis St. in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Beginning March 15, hours revert to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (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.

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