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October 12, 2011

The Napoleonic Wars and Their Influence on America Topic of Programs at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

the 206th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, guests participate in programs offering contrasting points of view about the Napoleonic Wars and their influence on America. Both programs will be held on Friday, Oct. 21 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St., Williamsburg.

Guest curator Elizabeth Davison leads the tour, “Huz(z)ah for Admiral Nelson,” that introduces John Shearer, a loyalist joiner in the backcountry of Virginia. Shearer expressed his support for Great Britain during a time America was being drawn into European wars and was still shaping its own identity. Scottish-born Shearer used his craft as a means of expressing his continuing loyalty to Great Britain as it battled the French in the Napoleonic Wars and his views on the state of the American government. The tours take place at 10:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Guests have the opportunity to hear Napoleon Bonaparte speak about the world of 1811. The program, “Napoleon Bonaparte – From Republic to Empire,” features stories of battles, government, art, music, religion and furniture and will also offer guests the opportunity to ask questions. The program will be held at 12:30 p.m.

These programs are held in conjunction with the exhibition, “‘A True North Britain’: The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820.” A travelling exhibition from the Daughters of the American Revolution, this display showcases the exquisitely detailed furniture of a post-American Revolution craftsman who practiced his craftsmanship in northern Virginia and western Maryland during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Noted not only for its form but also for the politically charged symbols inlaid in many pieces, the furniture helps to explore early America’s cultural ties to Great Britain during the most contentious period in the two nations’ shared history. The exhibition will be on view through March 2012.

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

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 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