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June 2, 2003

Colonial Williamsburg Character Interpreters Add A Human Touch To Museum Exhibitions

This season, Colonial Williamsburg’s “People of the Past,” who portray 18th-century residents of the colonial capital of Virginia, will bring their experiences to life using objects on display at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. These new programs are included in museum admission and feature prominent colonial Virginians such as Peyton Randolph, speaker of the House of Burgesses in 18th-century Williamsburg, and his wife, Betty.

“Our talented character interpreters will relate objects in the collection to their individual character’s lives and give them a personal face,” said Patricia D. Balderson, manager of museum education. “The programs will help guests make the connection between Historic Area programs and the museums.”

Beginning in May from 2 to 5:15 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at the Wallace Museum, Peyton Randolph (Charlie Red) will discuss the finer points of daily life, such as getting his portrait painted or selecting new china for their home. He and his wife, Betty Randolph (Lucy Smith), will be joined by Randolph’s brother, John (Jack Flintom), and his sister-in-law, Ariana (Karen Schlicht).

Guests also will have the opportunity to mingle with 18th-century upper and middle class Virginians. Apothecary-surgeon Dr. William Pasteur (Dave Pondolfino) and tobacco inspector James Shields Jr. (Don Coleman) will address subjects such as items collected for the home or the issue of a proper wardrobe for a gentleman.

Beginning in June from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the folk art museum, guests will meet 19th-century painter Thomas Hicks (Rob Warren), who will discuss his relationship and artwork in conjunction with his cousin, American folk artist Edward Hicks. Colonial Williamsburg houses the world's largest collection of works by Hicks.

From 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, Colonial Williamsburg weaver Max Hamrick will demonstrate his craft in conjunction with the exhibition, “Made in America: Coverlets from the Collection of Foster and Muriel McCarl.” While interpreting a weaver’s perspective on making period bed coverings, Hamrick and his assistants will create an 18th-century style coverlet.

Programs will run through Labor Day.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s award-winning DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, supported by the DeWitt Wallace Fund for Colonial Williamsburg, displays the foundation’s exceptional collection of English and American decorative arts. The museum is on Francis Street near Merchants Square and is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For program information, call (757) 220-7724.

The award-winning Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is one of the world-class museums belonging to Colonial Williamsburg, the nation’s largest living history museum. The folk art museum is the first U.S. institution devoted exclusively to collecting, exhibiting and researching American folk art. Located on South England Street across from the Williamsburg Lodge, the museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For program information, call (757) 220-7698.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that operates the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg recently was recognized as the “Best Historic Site” by readers of Southern Living magazine for the seventh straight year. Colonial Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free (800) HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121