Combine Your Visit to Wedmore Place with a Trip to Williamsburg Art Museums
Colonial Williamsburg is truly one big museum, but if you’re looking for art specifically during your stay at Wedmore Place, head to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, essentially two museums under one roof.
Before you begin your trek, make sure you enjoy all there is to see at Wedmore Place, which is full of the “finer things,” including period tapestries and furniture themed to various European countries. Reminiscent of a European inn, Wedmore Place contains an inviting library with period antiques scattered throughout the common rooms and hallways.
Your room is a mini art museum in itself.
Guests who enjoy “the finer things” will favor the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. It includes vast collections of southern furniture and British ceramics. Current exhibitions are:
· “A Gift to the Nation: The Joseph and June Hennage Collection,” which features furniture and silver from Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Charleston and other significant Colonial centers. It’s easy to fall in love with many of the pieces the Hennages bequeathed to Colonial Williamsburg. The prominent couple also left a Georgian-style residence at the corner of South England Street and Williamsburg Avenue.
· “Promoting America: Maps of the Colonies and the New Republic” chronicles mapmakers’ impressions of the New World, romanticized as a Garden of Eden of sorts. The exhibit is amusing propaganda and a unique history lesson, too.
· “Keeping Time” explores how people in the mid-18th century kept time with minimal access to traditional clocks. Telling time was a new innovation centuries ago; this exhibit features the intricacies of the early clocks.
The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum houses more than 7,000 folk art objects made over the last three centuries. Current exhibitions through 2022 are:
· “Art of the Quilter,” a selection of American quilts made from materials that range from denim blue jeans to colorful cottons. Many of the quilts are community works, created while friends and neighbors socialized. Anglo-American, African-American, German, Amish and Mennonite communities are each represented.
· “Navajo Weavings: Adapting Tradition,” which shows off passed-down designed weavings created by Navajo women on hand looms. Their woven motifs of these textiles reflect the world around them. Noted folk art enthusiasts Rex and Pat Lucke donated several special pieces, including a rare Navajo Chief’s Blanket from 1865-1870.
· “American Folk Pottery: Art and Tradition,” made possible by Sen. John D. Rockefeller and his wife Sharon, celebrates 19th and 20th century folk potters, whose vessels were both functional and whimsical.
For anyone seeking a fresh perspective on art, each of the museums offers an audio tour written and narrated by local teens.
Always check the schedule before your visit to see what’s on the calendar as far as staged performances and expert talks. For tickets to the Art Museums of Williamsburg, visit colonialwilliamsburg.org/tickets/. You can combine your tickets with other attractions or only get tickets to the art museums.
The other art treasure in town is the Muscarelle Museum of Art, which is affiliated with William and Mary.
The Muscarelle’s permanent collection is robust, with Colonial America and English 17th and 18th century portraits, a selection of Japanese prints, unique German Expressionist works by Hans Grohs, and the Jean Outland Chrysler collection of American abstract impressionists.
The museum is currently hosting works by Edgar Degas in an exhibit titled “The Private Impressionist” That exhibition, with drawings, prints, photographs, monotypes, a sculpture and one letter, will be on view until May 29, 2022.
In the Sheridan Gallery, visitors will find “Spark of Imagination: The Spectrum of Creativity,” which captures the ingenuity of American self-trained artists. The exhibit on view through April 10 features works by Grandma Moses, Clementine Hunter, Helen LaFrance and Sister Gertrude Morgan.
For hours and admission, visit muscarelle.wm.edu/visit.
Hungry after an art-filled afternoon? We welcome you back to the Gabriel Archer Tavern for dinner and wine. Choices on the newly revamped dinner menu include fresh oysters on the half shell, a Cajun seafood pasta or a lovely filet mignon. Save room for Warm Banana Bread, Virginia Peanut pie or Sea Salt Caramel Cheesecake for dessert.
Afterward, retreat to your room for a glass of wine and a peaceful night’s slumber in your king-sized bed at Wedmore Place.