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February 13, 2002

The Williamsburg Institute presents "The Art and Mystery of Gunsmithing"

Colonial Williamsburg’s Williamsburg Institute will host "Working Metals in the 18th Century: The Art and Mystery of Gunsmithing," Feb. 28-March 3, 2002. The program will explore the various technologies involved in building flintlock firearms using 18th-century methods, including forge work, foundry work, sheet-metal work, filing and finishing, and a number of decorative techniques.

Charles F. Hummel, curator emeritus at Winterthur Museum, and Colonial Williamsburg Master Gunsmith Wallace Gusler will open the conference with a historical introduction to metal trades in colonial Virginia and an overview of colonial gunsmithing. Colonial Williamsburg gunsmiths, blacksmiths, silversmiths and founders will present a series of programs and demonstrations that cover barrel forging and rifling; manufacture of trigger guards, butt plates, ramrod thimbles and other mounts; lock design and production; metal finishing techniques; and stocking.

Participants will have opportunities for close-up observation and conversation with the artisans during afternoon demonstrations in the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

Conference registration must be made in advance and accompanied by payment of an $185 registration fee, which includes all presentations plus an opening reception, coffee breaks, afternoon refreshments, a group lunch on Friday and a Freedom Pass to all Colonial Williamsburg exhibition buildings and museums. Holders of valid Colonial Williamsburg Liberty Passes receive a 15 percent discount on registration for a total cost of $157.25.

You may register by mail, fax or online at Registrations cannot be accepted by telephone. Fees are payable by VISA, Mastercard or Discovery, or by check payable to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. For additional information, contact the conference registrar by telephone at 7182, by fax 565-8630 or by email

Media Contact:
Sophia Hart
(757) 220-7272