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December 28, 2012

What’s Old Is New Again!

The 65th Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum in 2013 features four full days of lively discussions, lectures and other programs delving into new research in the decorative arts. ‘What’s Old Is New Again: Celebrating Antiques in America’ opens with a gala reception Friday evening Feb. 22 and closes with a dinner Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The program for this signature event also includes an optional lecture Thursday, Feb. 21 and three optional bus tours Friday, Feb. 22 and a choice of five optional workshops Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Presentations begin Saturday morning with the Gracia and Horatio Whitridge Distinguished Scholar Lecture, ‘Scarlett has an iPad: New Directions in Southern Decorative Arts’ by Robert Leath, vice president for collections and research at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C.

‘The Evolving State of Knowledge: Southern Furniture at Fifteen’ by Ronald L. Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of collections, conservation and museums and Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator, rounds out the morning session.

Saturday afternoon sessions include ‘Furniture That Sings: Keyboard Musical Instruments for America,’ presented by John Watson, Colonial Williamsburg’s associate curator of musical instruments and conservator of instruments and mechanical arts, and ‘Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition,’ presented by Leslie Grigsby, curator of ceramics and glass at Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.

These sessions are immediately followed by three compact presentations from Colonial Williamsburg curators: ‘Baltimore Album Quilts and Beyond’ by Kimberley Smith Ivey, curator of textiles and historic interiors; ‘De-Mythologizing American Folk Portraits’ by Barbara Luck, curator emerita of paintings, drawings and sculpture; and ‘Tramp Art’ by Tara Gleason Chicirda, curator of furniture.

Sunday’s sessions begin with ‘Patterns of Their Time: Design in Printed Textiles’ by Linda Eaton, the John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw director of collections and senior curator of textiles at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. The second half of the morning features ‘The Other Export Arts: Indian Textiles and Luxury Goods for America’ presented by Karina H. Corrigan, the H.A. Crosby Forbes curator of Asian export art at Massachusetts’ Peabody Essex Museum.

Sunday afternoon sessions include ‘Understanding and Conserving the Drayton Hall Desk and Bookcase.’ presented by Colonial Williamsburg furniture conservator Christopher Swan and furniture curator Tara Gleason Chicirda. Participants also visit the Colonial Williamsburg curators in their exhibits in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The afternoon concludes with The Chipstone Lecture, ‘Kelton House Farm: Celebrating America’s Colonial Past,’ presented by Chicago private collector Joseph P. Gromacki.

Monday programs get underway with ‘Bayou Bend Revisited,’ presented by Michael K. Brown, curator of the Bayou Bend Collection at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, followed by the ltd. Lecture, ‘A Smile and a Shoeshine: Eric Shrubsole and the Antiques Business, 1912-2013,’ presented by Tim Martin, president of New York’s S. J. Shrubsole.

    Monday afternoon’s presentations fit the theme of ‘Great Museum Collections, New Presentations:’•‘The Art of the Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,’ presented by the museum’s John Moors Cabot Chair of the Art of the Americas Department, Elliot Bostwick Davis,
    ‘Third Time’s The Charm: The New American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,’ presented by Nicholas C. Vincent, research associate for The American Wing of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and
    ‘Crystal Bridges: The Making of a New American Museum,’ presented by curatorial director David Houston of Arkansas’ Crystal Bridges museum of American Art.

    Late afternoon presentations feature three brief student presentations:
    ‘What a Crock! Nineteenth-Century Pottery Traditions in Kentucky,’ presented by Brenda Hornsby Heindl, independent scholar and potter at North Carolina’s Liberty Stoneware,
    ‘True to Life: the Nature-Prints of Johann Hieronymus Kniphof,’ presented by Kate Teiken, the 2012 Colonial Williamsburg Mellon Fellowship recipient, and
    ‘Unraveling the Mystery of East Tennessee’s ‘Rope and Tassel’ Cabinetmaker,’ presented by Amber Clawson, Ph.D. candidate in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University.

The final day of formal presentations begins with ‘Colonial American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Collector’s Edition,’ presented by the museum’s research associate, Nicholas C. Vincent. The morning session concludes with ‘It’s All About the Dress: Upholstery on Early American Furniture,’ presented by Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley, the Montgomery-Gravan associate curator of American decorative arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Tuesday afternoon presentations include ‘The Paint Detective,’ presented by London historical paint consultant Patrick Baty and ‘Hollywood Historicism: The Colonial Revival in the Movies and Popular Media, 1920-60,’ presented by Jeff Groff, public programs director at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.

    A choice of five optional workshops conducted by Colonial Williamsburg staff is offered to Antiques Forum participants Wednesday, Feb. 27:
    ‘Pieces and Parts: Learning from Colonial Williamsburg’s Architectural Collection’ highlights important examples in the Architectural Fragments Collection. Matthew Webster, director of historic architectural resources, and Cynthia (Dani) Jaworski, architectural collections specialist, conduct tours of the storage facility where these artifacts are housed. Transportation is provided.
    ‘From Bible Boxes to Dressing Glasses: The Diminutive Work of Cabinetmakers and Joiners’ permits participants to explore with furniture curator Tara Chicirda some of the smaller objects created by 17th- through 19th-century craftsmen.
    ‘A Picture Frame Workshop for Collectors’ invites participants to join furniture conservator Christopher Swan as he discusses period styles, materials and construction techniques with an eye to better inform the collector of painting and other framed works of art.
    ‘With Hammer in Hand at the Armoury’ offers the opportunity to join the blacksmiths and learn basic period metalworking techniques. Participants may heat iron in the forge and hammer it into their very own kitchen pot hook.
    ‘Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Packing for the New World’ takes participants to Historic Jamestowne to explore the choices early colonists had to make before they set sail for Virginia. Beverly A. Straub, senior archaeological curator for the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, introduces the artifact evidence that reveals a surprising picture of life in the early settlement. Transportation is provided.

Preregistration and payment in full of $600 per person is required. Registration includes an opening reception, four continental breakfasts, four morning coffee breaks, three afternoon refreshment breaks, a reception and buffet dinner Tuesday evening, all Antiques Forum presentations and a Colonial Williamsburg admission pass valid for the duration of the conference. The optional Thursday lecture, the optional Friday bus tours and Wednesday’s workshops entail additional fees. Special rates for Antiques Forum participants are available at the Colonial Williamsburg Hotels. For registration or more information, visit online at, telephone toll-free (800) 603-0948, or by mail to the Office of Conferences, Forums and Workshops, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776.

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley