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August 26, 2008

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum offers a memorable tour of “In Memoriam: Mourning Art in Early America”

Join Colonial Williamsburg’s curators and conservators for a tour of “In Memoriam: Mourning Art in Early America,” an exhibition commemorating the lives of the deceased with decorative art at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

Curators guide guests through the exhibit’s collection of 50 mourning art objects from textiles to paper to jewelry. Kim Ivey, associate curator of textiles, will conduct the tour on Sept. 26 at 2:30 p.m. Laura Pass Barry, Colonial Williamsburg’s associate curator, prints and maps, will lead the tour on Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m.

After the death of George Washington, memorials provided a way for the nation to honor the memory of the country’s first president. As mourning became an accepted social activity in the 19th century, amateur and professional artists adopted this trend and female academies and boarding schools, adding mourning pictures to their curriculum. Wrought in embroidery, paint, and/or ink, memorials were designed to express love and assuage grief for departed family members, document family relationships, and display artistic skill. In the exhibit, “In Memoriam,” guests are invited to discover the rich silk embroideries, paintings, medals, jewelry and textiles created in memory of Washington and numerous citizens of early America.

Emily Williams, Colonial Williamsburg conservator of archaeological materials, will explore the restoration and preservation of a significant 19th-century African American tombstone from Williamsburg. This “Meet the Curator/Conservator” Tour will be held Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m.

The exhibition discovers the mysteries of a 19th-century tombstone excavated from Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square. The marble tombstone commemorates Lucy Ann Dunlop, who died in 1866 at the age of 49. She was married to Alexander Dunlop, a free black who owned a shop and house in a prominent area of 19th-century Williamsburg.

The exhibit highlights the tombstone, remarkable for its detailed carvings and significant epitaph. The tombstone, excavated in 2002 after being discovered during new construction in Merchants Square, has undergone an extensive cleaning process. Conservators worked to minimize the iron staining on the surface of the stone.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, Good Neighbor Card or museums ticket allows you to enjoy the mourning art exhibition and tours. For reservations and more information, call 1-800-HISTORY.

Entrance to the museums is through the Public Hospital of 1773 at 326 W. Francis St. between Nassau and South Henry Streets. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For information and reservations call (757) 220-7724.

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 in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121