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February 15, 2008

Pennsylvania man donates handmade buildings to CW

Colonial Williamsburg’s architectural collections management and conservation department has received a gift of a collection of models of buildings in Virginia’s 18th-century colonial capital.

Clifford Richard Wolf of Allentown, Pa., hand crafted the 21 buildings in the collection that includes the George Reid House, Magazine and Guardhouse, the Prentis Store, Nicolson Store, St. George Tucker Kitchen, John Blair Kitchen, the Robert Carter Kitchen, Greenhow Brick Office, the Shoemaker Shop, the Taliaferro-Cole Shop, the Thomas Everard Kitchen and the Tayloe Office. Several outbuildings also were made and include the Governor’s Palace wellhead, the Governor’s Palace hexagonal building, the George Wythe House wellhead, the Benjamin Powell House smokehouse, the Grissell-Hay privy, smokehouse and dairy, and one of the King’s Arms Tavern privies.

"I am pleased that the models are in Colonial Williamsburg,” Wolf said. “I look forward to the feedback and impact they will have on the various groups that will be interacting with the exhibits."

From 1987-97, Wolf painstakingly constructed each building in three-quarter scale. In 1989, Wolf’s daughter, Ann Sedlack, contacted Nicholas Pappas, Colonial Williamsburg’s resident architect at the time, who critiqued Cliff’s work and offered guidance toward achieving truly accurate reproductions. Wolf re-examined his approach to modeling based on Pappas’ feedback, subsequently renovating his initial buildings and extending these concepts in his newer projects. As a result, every brick has been hand painted and individually applied as have all the shingles on the roofs of the buildings. All of the doors and many of the windows are operable. Many of the fireplaces feature a small light bulb to give the appearance of a fire when lit. The buildings allow guests to peer in and see the munitions at the Magazine, work tables and benches at the Taliaferro-Cole Shop or exposed beams that show how they were constructed.

“The models are beautifully made and will be very useful in education and training, both internally and externally,” said Tom Taylor, the Foundation’s director of architectural collections.

Architectural collections management and conservation staff went to Pennsylvania, carefully and individually packed the models and brought them to the newly renovated collections facility in Williamsburg, Va. Taylor said the buildings will go on display in the registration building for Colonial Houses – Historic Lodging and Providence Hall Guesthouses as soon as possible.

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 – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation – is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. 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 Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121