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September 30, 2011

Conservator Busts Myths About Color of Colonial Common Furniture

Chris Swan, Colonial Williamsburg furniture conservator, challenges assumptions of what early furniture in America looked like during the program, “Revealing Color in Early American Common Furniture,” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St.

Conservators and analysts continue to find evidence of a brightly colored Colonial world often heavily obscured by the patina of age, overwrought restorations and historically revived re-interpretation.

In 1999, Swan became a furniture conservator at the Foundation. Before that he served two years as the Mellon Fellow and then as assistant conservator in furniture conservation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Among other subjects, he has lectured on the photo-documentation of furniture, packing and crating furniture for collectors, painted furniture and the making and use of reproductions at Colonial Williamsburg.

Swan has lectured nationally and internationally on furniture conservation topics including at the Eighth International Symposium on Wood and Furniture Conservation in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2006 and 2008, as well as for the ICOM-CC Interim meeting for upholstery, leather and furniture hosted by Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, in 2007.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas and completed a master’s degree at the Buffalo State College Art Conservation Program. Following his third year internship, Swan also served one year as Getty Intern at Colonial Williamsburg.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, museum pass or Good Neighbor card provides access to this lecture.

Conservation support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Rex A. Lucke of Elkhorn, Neb., the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mildred and J.B. Hickman Conservation Endowment Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowed Conservation Fund.

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

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 20th and 21st 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