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April 13, 2004

CW's "Language of Clothing" e xhibition wins Richard Martin Award for Excellence

The Costume Society of America (CSA) has recognized Colonial Williamsburg’s “The Language of Clothing” exhibition with the Richard Martin Award for Excellence in the Exhibition of Costume. This prestigious award is given annually for outstanding achievement in costume exhibition. Normally, the society recognizes up to two institutions, but this year, CSA representatives agreed that “The Language of Clothing” was in a class by itself and, therefore, was the only display to be so honored. “The Language of Clothing,” featuring more than 300 pieces of antique clothing, accessories and dolls, recently completed a successful two-year run at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the national organization for clothing studies,” said Linda Baumgarten, Colonial Williamsburg’s curator of textiles and curator of the exhibition. “This beautiful exhibit and the exciting programming that accompanied it were the result of the combined talents of many staff members at Colonial Williamsburg.”

Earlier this year, Baumgarten received the Millia Davenport Publication Award for excellence in costume scholarship. Her book, “What Clothes Reveal, The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America,” accompanied the “Language of Clothing” exhibition and was published jointly by Colonial Williamsburg and Yale University Press.

“This exhibition was a collaborative effort involving many dedicated people from several areas of Colonial Williamsburg,” said Carolyn Weekley, Juli Grainger director of museums for Colonial Williamsburg. “The exhibition took months of planning and preparation, and required the combined cooperative efforts of the museum design team, maintenance personnel, curators and conservators, museum educators and the Historic Area fashion trades staff. Once it opened, volunteers, curators, conservators, historic trades staff and museum educators provided guests with program options that offered a variety of perspectives. All of these efforts led to a stunning visual display of costumes as well as rich and informative text that garnered this much-deserved award.”

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s award winning DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, supported by the DeWitt Wallace Fund for Colonial Williamsburg, displays the foundation’s exceptional collection of English and American decorative arts. Entered through the reconstructed Public Hospital of 1773, the museum is on Francis Street near Merchants Square and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For program information call (757) 220-7724.

Media Contact:
Sophia Hart
(757) 220-7272