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March 29, 2011

Program at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg Illustrates Williamsburg’s Connections to Slave Trade

During the era of the Atlantic slave trade in the 18th century, thousands of African captives, including members of elite families, were captured and sent to Virginia. “Princes Without a Palace: Tracing African Princes and Captives in Williamsburg” connects the Atlantic slave trade with historic buildings, people and events in Williamsburg and reveals the stories of African princes in exile. This program is at 11:30 a.m. March 31, May 5, 12, 19, June 2 and 9 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

“Princes Without a Palace” provides an overview of the 18th-century Atlantic world including key events occurred in Africa, Europe and North America during the slave trade. A historian narrates slides and video excerpts from Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip, “The Slave Trade.” These are used to explore how businesses, governments and religions supported or opposed the slave trade and the institution of slavery. Stories of princes from elite families in Old Calabar (Nigeria) and a North Africa Muslim named Selim, provide insight into how they and many others negotiated their survival in the Atlantic world.

A Colonial Williamsburg admission pass, museum pass or Good Neighbor pass gains entry into this program.

This program is part of Colonial Williamsburg’s Equiano Forum on Early African American History and Culture which seeks to broaden the public knowledge about African and African American history and culture in Virginia and the Atlantic world during the American Revolutionary era.

Colonial Williamsburg’s African American programming is made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Douglas N. Morton and Marilyn L. Brown, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Philip Morris, IBM and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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

Entrance to Colonial Williamsburg Art Museums is through the Public Hospital of 1773 at 326 W. Francis St. For information, call (757) 220-7724.

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

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121