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February 20, 2007

Generous gifts key to successful reopening of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

Colonial Williamsburg’s reopening of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum on Feb. 3 was made possible through individual, corporate and foundation gifts totaling nearly $7.5 million. Donors funded the design, construction and installation of 11 exhibits in the newly re-located folk art museum which shares the site of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Collectively, the two museums are known as The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, although each retains its separate identity.

The folk art museum received noteworthy local and regional support. The Gladys and Franklin Clark Foundation of Williamsburg provided a $1 million grant to the museum. The Clark Foundation Gallery currently displays one of the largest new exhibitions, “We The People: Three Centuries of American Folk Portraits.”

Ferguson Enterprises of Newport News made a grant of $250,000 to endow the David and Mary Peebles Gallery in honor of Peebles’ corporate and civic leadership. The gallery currently displays the exhibition, “Exciting Expressions: American Painted Furniture.”

SunTrust, one of the nation’s largest financial companies with strong local ties, made a $250,000 grant to help underwrite the museum’s new exhibitions.

Other named galleries are:

  • The Jan Curtis and Frank J. Spayth Gallery, recognizing the bequest from the Spayths who made Williamsburg their home following retirement,
  • The Mary B. and William Lehman Guyton Gallery, honoring the Guytons of Cockeysville, Md.,
  • The Elizabeth M. and Joseph M. Handley Gallery, named for the Carmel, Calif., residents whose estate provided generously for Colonial Williamsburg,
  • The Rex and Pat Lucke Gallery, honoring the Luckes of Elkhorn, Neb. The Lucke Gallery exhibits “The Carolina Room” that documents the ongoing conservation of a 19th-century, exquisitely painted room from a 1830s North Carolina farmhouse. The exhibit provides guests with the opportunity to observe the before-and-after results of object conservation.
  • The Foster and Muriel McCarl Gallery, named for the longtime benefactors and early folk art collectors from Beaver Falls, Penn.,
  • The Penelope P. and Dr. Sergio V. Proserpi Gallery, honoring benefactors from Reading, Pa. The gallery currently displays “Down On The Farm,” a family-friendly museum experience that combines paintings of barnyard scenes and animals with folk sculpture as young visitors share the adventures of Prince, a carved wood terrier, as the dog roams the countryside looking for his relatives.

    Generous support was also provided by Colonial Williamsburg trustee Richard Worley and his wife Leslie Anne Miller of Bryn Mawr, Pa., and by the estate of Jeanne and Willard Hoffmire of Pittsburgh, Pa., who were steadfast supporters of Colonial Williamsburg.

    The Henry Luce Foundation, established by the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc. in 1936, provided a grant of $125,000 to support the re-installation of the folk art collection in its new home.

    The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Admission is included in any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or by separate museums ticket. For information call (757) 220-7724.

    For information about gift opportunities, contact Glenn Williams, executive director of development, toll-free at (888) 293-1776, via e-mail at or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution 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. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

    Media Contact:
    Jim Bradley
    (757) 220-7281

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