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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

De Witt Museum and the Summer Gardens & Attire at Colonial Williamsburg

Coming near the end of our trip there was one place I had been looking forward to visiting, the DeWitt Museum at Colonial Williamsburg. When I was last at Colonial Williamsburg I was so busy photographing the holiday wreaths, interiors and fashions that I ran out of time. I was determined to go there and had heard it was a museum that children would enjoy.

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Indeed this was the case. One area of the museum is set up as a charming outdoor farm. Paintings featuring children and farms were incorporated into the layout of the design.

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The “pond” features hand carved duck decoys and fish~ some over 200 years old.

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A wall of weathervanes.

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There is a wonderful outdoor folk art display to include (the now politically incorrect) cigar indians that were once used in advertising. 

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I myself loved the spectacles that long ago announced an optician’s profession.

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There is also a lovely collection of folk art paintings such as “The Hansbury Sisters” circa 1840.

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As well as the charming “Baby in Red Chair” painted sometime between 1810-1830.

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There was a temporary exhibit (which I am sad to say has already closed) of quilts done in the Baltimore Style.

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Lighting was kept to a minimum to protect the antique quilts and a dazzling light display could be found of popular quilt designs on the floors.

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The color and attention to detail was superb. How I wished that my dear cousin L. had been with me. She is a true master of the needle and is currently working on a French boutis patterned quilt.

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Another exhibit that is still going on that I HIGHLY recommend is “The Threads of Feeling Unraveled: The London Foundling Hospital’s Textile Tokens”. There is no photography allowed in this exhibit due to the very delicate nature of the ribbons, fabric and tokens featured, but the premise is this:

When a mother left her infant at the Hospital during the mid-eighteenth century, she sometimes provided a token that was attached to the paper record, allowing her to later identify and reclaim her own child if her circumstances improved. Most of the tokens took the form of scraps of fabric, ribbons, or cuttings from the baby’s own clothing, identified in the record by their period names.”

Completely heartbreaking. The majority of the children left at the hospital were NEVER retrieved by their parents.

Then of course there were half a dozen rooms dedicated to stoneware, pottery, china, silver….such goodness! During this time Sweet Boy opted to take a seat on the leather chaise and open his book. :)

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Don’t even get me started on the antique furniture collection!

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Ok, get me started….look at this inlay!

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This double chest of drawers was massive. It was created in Charleston around 1765-1775 (Before our country’s independence!). The wood is a combination of mahogany, bald cypress and tulip poplar. I cannot get over the carving.

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By this time my little man had reached his limit so we left and stopped to view the adjoining exhibit of the “Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds".  We quickly left as he did not like it all and said it made him feel sad and frightened. I agreed.

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We decided we’d rather go out into a bright beautiful world.

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Filled with glorious gardens.

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Tended by men wearing breeches. What?

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Oh Colonial Williamsburg how I love your beautiful homes…

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Charming shops featuring hand painted signs…

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Townsfolk wearing blue socks and playing games that keep with the time period.

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Indeed there is 18th century realism to be found everywhere. Watch your step!

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Charming friendly souls who are delighted to answer just how hot are they while wearing these garments with no air conditioning?

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The garden shop with a delightful row of handmade baskets for purchase.

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The perfect potager.

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Ah I just love a man in uniform.

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Better yet, the sun spectacles worn by another gentleman.

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Three pretty maids in a row.

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Details, details.

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Still closer, because I wanted to know if indeed the sleeves were finished in a rolled hem, the edges of the dress ruffle were pinked and if the narrow trim was strips of fabric that had been hand braided. Glory be, yes, yes and yes!

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A fetching chapeau.

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I love the tilt of her hat.

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As well as the delicate lace of her cap.

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Because I had decided that on my next visit I will NOT be wearing this:

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More to come on that subject later.



Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Beautiful!!! LOVING all the photos!! Looks like an amazing trip!!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Oh I loved seeing this Laura!
What a great museum, so full of history and interesting displays.
I love visiting out East, because of the history it's just amazing.
We were due to go out to Virginia this summer and stay with my Aunt who lives near all of this. However, my uncle is quite ill, so it will have to wait.
Hugs friend,

Rita C. said...

Another great post from your travels, Laura. Let me guess...the denim capris were just too hot for our humidity to where you felt you had a blanket wrapped around your legs?

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

We had so much fun when we went to Williamsburg. My daughter loved dressing up! Looks like you had a great time. LOVE photos of the quilts.

Vel Criste said...

This is so much fun Laura! Thanks for taking us along! I wish to go here someday too and I agree with you on that sad story on the "Threads of feeling" exhibit - heartbreaking. As for your outfit, you still look cute but next time a lovely summer dress and hat would probably be more in tune in this place!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I would have enjoyed the quilt exhibit for sure! Great photos and commentary, as always!

Karen Albert said...

Dear Laura,
I loved this historic tour. One of my favorites is the early folk paintings!

2013 Designer Series

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Hi Laura, I can't believe it -- I was just thinking of this museum today!!! I just love it. And I love Williamsburg too. Your photos are superb. I need a friend to travel with me down there! Now I really need to go again. The weathervanes exhibit is one of my favorite parts of the museum, although the dish section is incredible too. Thanks for the tour. Linda

Laura Turner said...

So beautiful. I never made it to Williamsburg when I lived in the South, but I visited Greenfield Village in Michigan, which looks similar. What beauty you captured! It was relaxing just looking at your photos. Have a wonderful week.

Laura from Sunday View

Auntie Em said...

Gorgeous photos! There is a place about an hour from our home called 'Kings Landing' which is a working village and it's amazing to visit and chat with the knowledgeable people who work/volunteer there. They even have a summer program so kids can experience what it would have been like. The dedication to detail, like the pretty gowns in your photos is stunning.

ImagiMeri said...

Did they make their own costumes???? That museum is amazing....Colonial Williamsburg is on my bucket list, always has been. I've always been fascinated by period clothing, especially when I went to the V&A in London, and when I participated in the renaissance festival for the first few years it opened and had to make my own costume. Thanks for sharing such loveliness.

Love ya'

openid said...

I am loving ALL of this -- the museum, the gardens, the homes, the attire! I know what you are up to, Laura Ingalls! I follow you on pinterest. :)
<3 Deborah

KaseyQ said...

Wonderful!! I used to be one of those “charming, friendly souls who [were] delighted to answer just how hot they are while wearing these garments with no air conditioning.” LOL! And for ImagiMeri who asked if they make their own costumes, the answer is no, there is an entire building offsite dedicated to clothing all the CW employees. Each employee goes in to be fitted for an entire wardrobe of clothes- from undergarments to shoes to socks and hats- and each item has a bar code that is scanned, like checking out library books. It’s a fascinating operation over there. They have those huge, automated racks like at a dry cleaner. And actually, that’s where they clean the costumes too. You take them there once a week and they clean them and you go pick them up.

I worked there during the summers in college, and one year I decided to work there over winter break as well. It was wonderful because they issued me a cloak and mitts- it was a full length red wool cloak with a hood and matching mitts, which are basically fingerless gloves. I loved it. They required us to carry our personal items in baskets when we walked in from our cars, so I looked just like Little Red Riding Hood walking in with my lunch in my basket.

It was a truly wonderful place to work, and my husband and I have talked about going back there to retire and work at CW in our old age. :-)