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March 18, 2011

DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum Hosts Free Open House

Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum will hold a free open house to celebrate the new exhibition, “Fashion Accessories from Head to Toe: 1600 to 1840,” from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 23.

The open house includes free admission, light refreshments and entertainment. Exhibition curator Linda Baumgarten, as well as volunteers, will be on hand to show guests the exhibit and answer questions. As a pianist plays near the atrium staircase, wine and beer will be available at a cash bar.

The exhibition, featuring apparel that turned heads for 240 years, demonstrates that fashion accessories were just as important in the distant past as they are today. Wardrobe items come out of the closet to illustrate their roles in reflecting the latest fashion trends for men and women. More than 200 fashion accessories are displayed — from hats to shoes and everything in between: stockings, handkerchiefs, shawls, gloves, purses, aprons, jewelry and watches.

Many of the objects in the exhibition are new to Colonial Williamsburg’s collections, while still others have not been on view in the past 20 years.

Mary Turner Gilliland and Clinton R. Gilliland of Menlo Park, Calif., provided funding for the exhibition through the Turner-Gilliland Family Fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation of Mountain View, Calif.

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 7 p.m. daily. 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