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August 14, 2014

Endowment Boosts Educational Programs at Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- A major endowment for the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg will expand and enhance educational programming that serves more than 10,000 guests, students and educators each year, President and CEO Colin G. Campbell announced Thursday.

The gift by Susan and David Goode of Norfolk, Virginia, will support efforts including tours, teacher workshops and regular classes offered at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s newly renamed Susan Goode Education Gallery.

“The art museums’ programming engages a vast segment of guests each year, leveraging their extensive collections toward our core mission of education,” Campbell said. “We’re extremely grateful to the Goodes – who are both art lovers and great friends to the institution – for enriching and sustaining that programming in perpetuity.”

The museums’ education team consists of two full-time employees complemented by a staff of 40 volunteers and seasonal interns. In addition to adult tours, last year the team conducted 420 programs and workshops in the Goode Gallery – previously called the education studio – for approximately 10,500 guests, school group students and teachers annually.

“The programming overseen by the Art Museums’ educators and volunteers is extensive,” said Ron Hurst, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s vice president for collections, conservation and museums and Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator. “The Goodes’ generous commitment will benefit guests and the community as a whole for years to come.”

David Goode, retired CEO of Norfolk Southern Corp., and his wife Susan Goode have supported arts and history programs throughout Virginia and have a particular interest in folk art.

“David and I believe very strongly in the educational power of museums and that the arts are a vital force in our history,” Susan Goode said. “Colonial Williamsburg’s museums are uniquely able to make that connection for future generations. We’re gratified to know that this endowment will support even more robust educational programs at the museum.”

Current museum educational programs include the “Kids in Art” family program, in which guests follow guided tours of the DeWitt Wallace Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. They then convene in the 60-seat Goode Gallery, where kids craft their own self-portraits.

The program “Celebrate Quilts!” complements the Folk Art Museum’s current exhibition “A Celebration of Quilts.” Participants tour the exhibit and learn how to discern details of the artisans’ lives from the nuances of their work. They too then head to the Goode Gallery and ply the craft themselves.

“The results are individual folk-art masterpieces,” said Museum Education Manager Patricia Balderson.

The museum education team hosts regular school field trip tours to augment social studies and visual arts curricula, and contributes to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute’s “Using Local History Resources in your Classroom” program.

The Goodes’ endowment coincides with plans for the first major expansion of the museum facilities since they opened in 1985 on Francis Street, accessible via the Public Hospital. The plans include 8,000 square feet of new exhibition space along the museums’ south side, with a new entrance and façade to the east on South Nassau Street.

The expansion is projected to cost $40 million, while a total of $20 million in endowed funds would support the facilities’ added operations.

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670-1830. 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 museums are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Call (757) 220-7724 for program information.

Media Contact:
Joe Straw