This article was originally published in Antique Trader
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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — About 500 antiques and history buffs made the pilgrimage to Virginia’s colonial capitol for the 64th Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum.
The event, which offers educational and informative seminars and is held in the restored village, sold out for the session held Feb. 19-23, 2012.
The main topics each day typically relate to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation exhibits. For example, a talk on silver by CWF Curator Janine Skerry focused on pieces in the collection.
A host of new pieces were added to the exhibits in the past year, said Ron Hurst, vice president and chief curator of Colonial Williamsburg in charge of the museums and collections. As Hurst spoke, it was clear how much he loves his job and how all of the new additions were meaningful to him.
Several needlework samplers from states that were not previously represented in their collections, including Alabama and Wisconsin, were among the new acquisition. The Wisconsin piece is dated 1818 and bears the caption of Racine, W.T., meaning Wisconsin Territory, as it was not yet a state.
Samplers were in the spotlight during a review by Dr. Tricia Wilson Nguyen, who focused on some samplers made in Newburyport, Mass.
New furniture exhibits include a paint-decorated North Carolina Chest circa 1844; a companion chair for the Colonial Williamsburg collection in the Governor’s Palace; two chairs and a stand from Bowling Green Farm in Caroline County, Va.; a John Bagly clock; a mahogany corner cupboard from Norfolk, Va.; and a paint-decorated, comb-back Windsor chair from Philadelphia.
Attendees were able to learn more about early Pennsylvania furniture and Pennsylvania Fraktur painting in sessions led by Lisa Minardi from Winterthur.
Several paintings were added to the CWF collection the last year, including pair of portraits by C. Thompson, which was found at Northeast Auctions and paid for by The Friends of Williamsburg. The group also is purchasing the painting of Captain John Smith by Salazar y Mendoza, circa 1799 — but another $30,000 is needed to finish paying for the piece.
One of the earliest maps of America has joined the CWF’s collection. Margaret Pritchard, curator of prints, maps and wallpaper, addressed the importance of maps in the discovery, history and exploration of America.
In total, experts led more than two dozen talks. Topics also included looks into the life styles of colonial times as well as the objects early Americans dealt with in their everyday lives.
Beyond the educational sessions, visitors had plenty of time to visit most of the restored village, including the early homes, shops and early government buildings of the original Capitol. Side trips also were available to nearby Jamestown, the first colony, and Yorktown, where the British surrendered to George Washington to end the Revolutionary War.
For many visitors, this event is a reunion of sorts, as they have been attending it for many years.
Colonial Williamsburg is open every day with varying hours of operation for the different buildings in the restored area. The principal museums — the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum — are open every day, as well. For specific hours and to arrange travel accommodations, visit its website.
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