Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

January 25, 2011

Historic Trades Focus of Videos Now Showing at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

Explore 18th-century trades through archival documentaries showing January, February and March in the Hennage Auditorium of The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

During “The Gunsmith of Williamsburg,” the master gunsmith explains the principal parts of an early American rifle and demonstrates the gun’s complex manufacturing process. Guests follow every step in a rifle’s creation from the selection of wood, shaping and carving of the gunstock to the casting, forging, finishing and embellishment of the metal parts. 3:30 p.m. Jan. 29, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 19 March 5, 11 and 12 and 1:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 12, 13, 20, 26 and 27.

The master silversmith in “The Silversmith of Williamsburg” transforms scraps of silver into a magnificent new coffeepot. Guests witness the art and science of silversmithing at every stage from the adaptation of English designs and the pouring of molds to the forging, raising and hammering that give the metal its shape and shine. 4:30 p.m. Jan. 29, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 19 March 5, 11 and 12 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 12, 13, 20, 26 and 27.

Antique furniture produced in 18th-century Williamsburg serves as patterns for work produced in Colonial Williamsburg’s restored Hay’s Cabinetmaking Shop. The documentary, “The Cabinetmaker: Crafting a Card Table,” captures the master of the shop as he uses the tools and technology of the era to reproduce the sculpted cabriole legs, carved ball and claw feet, carved acanthus leaf decoration, mortise and tenon, dovetails and a wooden hinge of a 1760’s card table. 5:30 p.m. Jan. 29, Feb. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 26, March 5, 11 and 12 and 3:30 p.m. Feb. 20.

These and other documentaries are available for purchase in the Museum Store.

Admission to these programs is included in all Historic Area or museum admission passes.

Programs and exhibitions at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

Guests at the Wallace Café in the soaring central atrium court of the museum can enjoy light fare including sandwiches, salads and soups to take off the chill this winter.

Bassett Hall Workshops

“Bassett Hall Winter Workshop: The Art of Theorem Painting” offers guests insight into this early American traditional art form that involves layers of painting with stencils. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller collected these brightly patterned pieces, sometimes made by schoolgirls for her Williamsburg home. Participants will learn basic skills to create their own artwork inspired by the 19th-century theorems in this two-hour class. 10 a.m. Feb. 12.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller enjoyed knitting and was often photographed with a knitting project. During the two-hour “Bassett Hall Winter Workshop: Beginner Knitting,” participants learn the basic skills of knitting. Participants receive all supplies to create a narrow scarf or fingerless mitts, depending on the skill level. The workshop includes instruction in basic stitches, and guests will take instructions home to finish the project. 10 a.m. Feb. 19.

An admission with a Historic Area or museum admission ticket is required to participate in these workshops. A separate ticket of $15 for each workshop is required and can be purchased at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet. Advance registration is required.

Bassett Hall, a two-story, 18th-century frame house on 585 acres (including woodlands) across from the colonial Capitol building, was the Williamsburg home of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. In addition to the main house, the property includes a teahouse and three original outbuildings—a smokehouse, kitchen and dairy–all of which were given to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1979 by the Rockefeller family. First opened to the public 30 years ago, Bassett Hall underwent an extensive restoration and re-interpretation in 2002 that was funded by a generous gift of Abby O’Neill, granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller Jr., and her husband George.

Bassett Hall is located at 522 E. Francis St.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday through March 13. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization 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. 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 website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121