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January 6, 2010

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and Bassett Hall Offer Complimentary Admission on Saturday, Dec. 11

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, Dec. 11 in celebration of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s 25th anniversary throughout 2010.

Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the newest exhibition at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, “Dollars, Farthings & Fables: Money & Medals From the Colonial Williamsburg Collection.” The display features more than 6,600 pieces of colonial currency squirreled away by a North Carolina loyalist prior to the American Revolution, plus other fascinating examples of coins and paper money from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s extensive numismatics collection.

A number of family holiday programs will be featured on Dec. 11 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and include:

  • “Toys,” 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.
  • “On Christmas Day in the Morning: Christmas Songs and Stories,” 11:30 a.m. Barry Trott and Lee Welch perform a delightful program of carols, songs and stories of Yuletide, drawing on some of the best-loved Christmas music of the 17th and 18th centuries. A separate $3 ticket required.
  • “Here We Come a Wassailing,” 1:30 and 4 p.m. Join Lee Welch and Barry Trott for traditional tunes performed on a variety of stringed, wind and percussion instruments. A separate $6 ticket required.

    The 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.

    Guests can admire a 16-foot tree in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum that is surrounded by glittering silver and gold stars. The traditional Christmas tree display began with the opening of the original folk art museum in 1957. Initially, tree ornaments were made by museum employees as an opportunity to instill a sense of community during the holiday season. Ornaments were created in the folk art style from everyday materials. When AARFAM reopened in its new location in 2007, the holiday tradition returned.

    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 Home of the Rockefellers

    Complimentary admission also allows guests to explore Bassett Hall, the Williamsburg home of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. This time of year Colonial Williamsburg’s curators add festive touches with holiday floral arrangements throughout the historic home, plus a Christmas tree in the dining room.

    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.

    Bassett Hall is located at 522 E. Francis St. and will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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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