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July 5, 2010

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and Bassett Hall Offer Free Admission on Saturday, July 17

Guests can enjoy free admission to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. and Bassett Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 17 in celebration of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s 25th anniversary throughout 2010.

Two new exhibitions will be open. Colonial Williamsburg’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum features “Material Witnesses: Quilts and Their Makers,” a display of coverlets and quilts that tell fascinating stories of the men and women who produced the intricate and colorful bed coverings of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibition is made possible by a gift from the Turner-Gilliland Family Fund of Menlo Park, Calif., and reflects Mary Gilliland’s interest in textiles.

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum unveils “Conservation: Where Art and Science Meet” that presents how museum objects are conserved before they are exhibited. Visitors will discover the variety of techniques used by conservators to investigate each object and ensure its preservation for the future. This exhibition was made possible in part by Friends of Heritage Preservation and the Stone Family Fund.

Guests can experience special programs offered on this day. At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Decorative Arts Highlights introduces guests to masterworks on exhibit such as paintings, ceramics, textiles, furniture and silver. At noon and 2 p.m., Introduction to Folk Art discusses whimsical and fascinating paintings, sculpture, textiles and more from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s original collection for which the museum was founded. During Jefferson Discusses the Declaration at 12:30 p.m., meet the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. The nation’s third president recollects how he wrote the important document. A question-and-answer session follows. Free reservations are required and can be made at any ticket outlet including the Museum Store.

Family programs offered include Toys at 10:30 a.m. Young guests can create a toy based on the ones seen in the 18th- and 19th-century portraits in the galleries. One of the oldest forms of moving picture entertainment, a shadow puppet play will be presented during The Toymaker’s Workshop at 4 p.m. The Victorian Shadowlight Theater will present a program brought to life with a storyteller, shadow puppeteers and live sound effects. After the show, visit with the cast to learn more about shadow puppetry and historical entertainments.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at 326 W. Francis St. in Williamsburg, Va., and will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Enter through the Public Hospital of 1773.

Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.
For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

Tour the Rockefellers’ Home


Complimentary admission also allows guests to explore Bassett Hall, the Williamsburg home of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. The property was given to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1979 by the Rockefeller family. First opened to the public 30 years ago, Bassett Hall underwent an extensive restoration and re-interpretation in 2002 that was funded by a gift from Abby O’Neill, granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller Jr., and her husband George.

Today, both the interiors and the grounds are much as they were when the Rockefellers lived there during the mid 1930s and 1940s to oversee the restoration of the Historic Area. Of particular note is Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s eclectic collection of 125 pieces of folk art, including weather vanes, chalkware and schoolgirl art—pieces that Mrs. Rockefeller was among the first in the nation to collect.

Bassett Hall and its gardens are located at 522 E. Francis St. and will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 17.

Guests also can enjoy free admission to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and Bassett Hall during Saturday, Oct. 2, Sunday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 11.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization 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 www.history.org.

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121



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