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January 16, 2004

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum announces 2004 exhibition schedule

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, opened in 1957, is the nation’s leading center for the research, preservation and exhibition of American folk art. Located adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, the museum features more than 3,000 objects of American folk art including furniture, paintings, carvings, textiles and decorative wares. The museum’s permanent collections and changing exhibitions include the popular annual Christmas show of toys and dollhouses.

In late 2004, the museum will begin construction for a new building at the site of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The new building is part of a comprehensive plan to centralize the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, making them more accessible to guests. The Folk Art Museum is scheduled to reopen in late 2006 in its new location.


“Child’s Play: A Celebration of Antique Toys.” This exhibition will feature a delightful display of toys to capture the imagination of guests both young and old. Four dollhouses will be on view, including the dollhouse owned by renowned illustrator Tasha Tudor. Special programs, dubbed “Holiday Family Fun,” will be offered throughout the season and will allow guests to create their own tree ornaments or 19th-century-style toys. Nov. 25, 2004 though Jan. 2, 2005.


“Decorative Details: A Closer Look at Edward Hicks.” This delightful display features 11 paintings by renowned 19th-century Pennsylvania artist Edward Hicks. Though best known today for his paintings of the Peaceable Kingdom, Hicks made his living as a coach and sign painter. Very little of his shop work survives, but his training as an ornamental painter is evident in the paintings he created throughout his life. Details such as the method of shading and style of lettering provide a new way to appreciate his work. Through Jan. 2, 2005.

“Heavy Metal: American Cast Iron.” Iron, the most common of all metals, was essential to the daily lives of colonial Americans. This exhibition displays 16 objects of 18th- and 19th-century American cast iron from stovetop figures to fire backs including a full-length hollow cast iron statue of George Washington originally used as a radiator, an architectural ornament in the shape of an eagle, Virginia stove plates and decorative weathervanes. Through Jan. 2, 2005.

“James Hampton’s Throne of the Third Heaven: A Millennial Treasure from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.” This loaned exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum features the work of South Carolina native James Hampton, who worked for the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C., from 1950 to 1964. Inspired by religious visions, Hampton constructed the 180 pieces that make up the finished “throne,” including wooden furniture, aluminum and gold foil, cardboard, paper, plastic and light bulbs. Through Sept. 6.

“Lions & Eagles & Bulls: Early American Tavern and Inn Signs.” Proud lions, patriotic eagles and solemn bulls once graced the American roadside. Painted on wooden signboards and hung outdoors, these colorful images helped residents and travelers identify the places they passed. This exhibition, on loan from the Connecticut Historical Society, showcases more than two-dozen examples of early American tavern and inn signs. Through Sept. 6.

“Schimmel and Mountz: Pennsylvania Carvers.” This delightful display features animal carvings by 19th-century Pennsylvania carvers Wilhelm Schimmel and Aaron Mountz. Through Jan. 2, 2005.

“Tramp Art and More!” The booming cigar industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided a ready supply of materials used to create “tramp art.” This exciting display features five examples of chip carving – the genre’s principal design technique -- including a magnificent Cheval Glass, a picture frame, a miniature roll-top desk and two combination mirror and comb boxes. Chip carving, which required few tools and little training, allowed the artist to create wonderfully layered objects that readily complemented Victorian décor. Through Jan. 2, 2005.

Media Contact:
Sophia Hart
(757) 220-7272