The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum presents a generous selection of the most important objects in the Colonial Williamsburg decorative arts collections. British and American antiques, pewter and porcelain and silver, and military and civilian firearms, and other exhibits are located here. The "Masterworks" exhibition features splendid examples of British and American antiques from 1660 to 1820, and Charles Willson Peale's portrait of George Washington as commander of the American forces during the Revolution. "Lock, Stock & Barrel: Early Firearms from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection" displays military and civilian firearms from the 17th and 18th centuries, and traces the evolution of the standard British infantry musket pre-1800.
The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, in expanded quarters adjacent to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, houses one of the finest collections of American folk art in the country. Since colonial times, untrained artists and craftspeople working outside the mainstream of academic art have recorded aspects of everyday life, making novel and effective use of whatever media were at hand. Bold colors, simplified shapes, imaginative surface patterns, and the artist's own originality can be seen in the variety of paintings, carvings, toys, needlework, and other treasures they created. The Folk Art Museum offers changing exhibitions of American folk art from its permanent holdings and also sponsors major loan show.
You enter from the underground entrance from the Public Hospital
The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum is home to an extensive collection of American and British antiques, including furniture, textiles, tools, firearms, ceramics, silver, pewter, and clothing from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. In a wide variety of ways, the objects in these galleries—designed by internationally honored architect Kevin Roche—help visitors better understand how diverse Virginia colonists made the choice for independence and became Americans. Special lectures and musical performances are offered in the Hennage Auditorium. Tours of current exhibitions and museum highlights are offered throughout the year.
The DeWitt Wallace Art Museum is a large underground complex that you can access from the public hospital. It's open until 9 PM every day. The museum is fairly interesting, with collections of rifles, paintings, some windvanes, pianos, silver, and other things along those lines.
The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery Museum is a very contemporary structure that is a bi-level place located behind the Public Hospital. Incidently, you enter the gallery through the hospital lobby at the lower level
The late DeWitt Wallace provided the funds to build the gallery. Dewitt Wallace is the founder of Reader's Digest. 26,000 square feet of the museum is devoted to English and American decorative arts which date from the 17th century to the early 19th century, including ceramics, silver, furniture, textiles, painting, prints, domestic objects, and costumes.
There are two symmetrically positioned glass roofed garden courts beside the main floor, and they allow sunlight to illuminate the galleries.
I found that the objects in the galleries helped me to understand how the Enlish lifestyle influenced the American lifestyle.
There's an auditorium named for June S. and Joseph H. Hennage where lectures, musical exhibitions and the like are presented.
There is also a gallery cafe where you can have light refreshments, tea, or a lunch.
What I really like was the Lila Acheson Wallace Garden, a formal, enclosed garden that you can enter from the main floor of the Wallace Gallery. It opened in 1986 and honors Dewitt Wallace's wife, Lila.
It's a contemporary garden with bronze furniture and relief-molded stoneware pots. There's a beautiful reflecting pool that is fitted with bronze bird fountains at the corners and a statue of "Diana" (Artemis), goddess of the moon, the hunt, and protector of children.
There's tropical, semitropical and perennial plantings. There's also hedges of yaupon holly, and in the pool there are water lilies, aquatic cannas, and iris. It's just magnificent.
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