Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

April 30, 2010

CW to show traveling sculptures of Obama Inauguration

Colonial Williamsburg will open a special traveling sculpture exhibition May 7 at the Bruton Heights School Education Center. The exhibit is in concert with a special program, “A Dream Fulfilled? Race, Citizenship and the Presidential Election of 2008,” the concluding event commemorating the 30th anniversary of Colonial Williamsburg’s pioneering African American programming.

The sculpture exhibition, “The Inauguration of History and Hope,” consists of five individual, life-size bronze statues depicting the historic January 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. The statues include the President, First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters Malia and Sasha, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who administered the oath of office. The sculptures, and the accompanying exhibition text panels, were created by America’s first African American astronaut and renowned artist Ed Dwight.

The sculptures, which were commissioned by Colonial Williamsburg major benefactors Doug Morton and Marilyn Brown, will be on display through May 17 in the exhibit area adjacent to the entry hall of the former school building 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Morton and Brown serve on Colonial Williamsburg’s President’s Council, are recognized at the Visitor Center Courtyard of Philanthropy and are Life Members of the Raleigh Tavern Society.

The Bruton Heights School Education Center is located at 301 West First St. off Capitol Landing Road in Williamsburg. Ample free parking is available.

Built in the late 1930’s through the combined efforts of the Rockefeller family, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the City of Williamsburg and the federal government, Bruton Heights was founded as a model educational facility and community center for the Williamsburg area’s African-American population during the years of segregation. The school opened in 1940 and served students of all ages until January 1966.

Students in grades nine through 12 then moved out of the building which continued to function as an elementary school until 1989, when the Williamsburg-James City County School System decided it was no longer needed. Colonial Williamsburg agreed to acquire the building and surrounding acreage to create a much-needed education center and campus which today houses the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, the DeWitt Wallace Collections and Conservation Building and Colonial Williamsburg’s educational outreach facilities.

In recognition of the building’s significance, Colonial Williamsburg created a gallery with a permanent exhibition in tribute to the former students, faculty and school and the history of education among African-Americans.

NOTE: Due to popular demand the location of “A Dream Fulfilled? Race, Citizenship and the Presidential Election of 2008,” has been moved to the Colony Room of the Williamsburg Lodge, 310 S. England St, Williamsburg, at 6 p.m. Friday, May 7. Five distinguished panelists will bring their rich and diverse perspectives to the program to explore the future of race relations, citizenship and African American cultural identity in light of the election of Barack Obama. Admission is free to the panel discussion, but a free reservation is required. Reservations can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket office or by calling 1-800-HISTORY. A reception will follow the event.

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 website at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281