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July 3, 2007

CW symposium explores early commemorative art of the new nation

A new Colonial Williamsburg symposium explores the late 18th- and early 19th-century fashion of personal remembrances. “‘Remember Me When This You See:’ Embroidered and Painted Arts of the New Republic” gathers noted scholars, artists, curators and other museum professionals to discuss the commemorative arts created during the period after the Revolutionary War.

From schoolgirls to professional artists, individuals valued patriotism, love of liberty and the celebration of family. Through a lively series of lectures, tours and workshops Oct. 28-31, the symposium features the painted and embroidered artwork that reflects Americans’ pride and delight in their new nation.

Amy Finkel of Philadelphia’s M. Finkel & Daughter begins the four-day program with “The Connoisseurship of American Samplers and Silk Embroideries” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 in the Hennage Auditorium of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Her presentation is followed by an opening reception in the Central Court of the museum.

Ronald L. Hurst, Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator and vice president of collections and museums for Colonial Williamsburg, begins the Monday sessions with a welcome and program introduction for symposium participants. Betsy Garrett, author and educator of Newburyport, Mass., follows with “Upstairs, Downstairs, and In My Lady’s Chamber: In the Steps of the Family at Home in a New Nation.”

New York scholar Davida Deutsch probes the new nation’s mourning of George Washington’s death with her presentation, “The Hero’s dead! A nation weeps! In dust Columbia’s guardian sleeps.”

Carolyn Weekley, Juli Grainger director of museums for Colonial Williamsburg, presents “Bassett Hall and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s Collection of Stitched and Painted Art.” Participants can enjoy lunch and tours of Bassett Hall following Weekley’s presentation.

Two programs conclude Monday’s session. Peter Benes, director of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife at Boston University, presents “Family Registers, 1779-1850,” and Laura Pass Barry, associate curator of prints, maps, paintings and sculpture for Colonial Williamsburg, and Williamsburg folk artist Nancy Rosier present “Theorems: The Art of Painting on Velvet.”

Tuesday programs begins with “Remember me when this you see: Commemorative Needlework of the New Republic” presented by Kimberly Smith Ivey, associate curator of textiles for Colonial Williamsburg.

Independent scholar Davida Deutsch returns with “Samuel Folwell, Federal Entrepreneur: Artist, Jeweler, Drawing Master,” and Linda Baumgarten, Colonial Williamsburg curator of textiles and costume, narrates an historic fashion show, “Dressing a New Nation,” with assistance from Costume Design Center staff and Historic Trades tailors, wigmakers, milliners and mantua makers.

The regular program concludes with a special gallery experience in the museum and a closing tea in the Central Court.

Optional programs for groups limited to 15 participants are available Wednesday, Oct. 31. Loreen Finkelstein, Colonial Williamsburg textiles conservator, leads an in-depth tour, “Conservation of Historic Textiles,” in The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s conservation laboratory. Linda Baumgarten, Laura Pass Barry and Pamela Young, Colonial Williamsburg paper conservator, lead a tour of conservation facilities in “Behind the Seams: Textile, Print, Painting Storage, and Paper Conservation Lab.” Williamsburg fiber artist Carol Harrison demonstrates the how design motifs from antique samplers can be used to make 21st-century gifts in “A Sampling of Samplers.” Participants in “Be a Mantua Maker for a Day” will work along side Historic Trades experts to create a fine gown in a day’s time, and Kimberly Smith Ivey offers a curator’s walking tour and discussion of her current exhibition, “In Memoriam: Mourning Art in Early America.”

Symposium registration is $275 per person and includes a Colonial Williamsburg admission pass valid for the conference duration. Space is limited. Pre-registration and payment in advance is required. Register online at, by telephone toll free at (800) 603-0948, by fax at (757) 565-8921, or by mail to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Office of Conferences, Forums and Workshops, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776.

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. 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