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June 25, 2003

Colonial Willimsburg to Loan Objects for Lewis and Clark Exhibition

Colonial Williamsburg will loan several objects from its extensive museum collections to the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis for display in “The National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Exhibition.” This monumental three-year exhibition will focus on the 19th-century transcontinental journey of American discoverers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Objects on loan from Colonial Williamsburg are representative of items Lewis and Clark took with them on their expedition. The explorers used numerous tools such as chisels, a whetstone and a drawknife on their journey as well as a violin for entertainment. A corn grinder, kettle, a vice and a pair of needlework scissors were used for trade. This traveling exhibition can be seen at five venues: the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, Jan. 1-Sept. 6, 2004; Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Nov. 6, 2004-March 5, 2005; Denver Museum of Nature and Science, May 6-Sept. 11, 2005; Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Ore., Nov. 11, 2005-March 11, 2006; and the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., May 12-Sept. 11, 2006.

The Library of Congress is assembling objects for its own exhibition on Lewis & Clark, entitled “Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America,” July 24-Nov. 29, 2003, in Washington, D.C. Colonial Williamsburg is loaning the corn grinder for this display prior to sending it to Missouri.

Colonial Williamsburg reaps several benefits from lending objects from its collections to other museums. “We have such a treasure trove of objects to share,” said Patricia Silence, associate conservator for exhibitions. “It supports our mission—‘that the future learn from the past’—to get educational information out to the public.”

Additional objects have been requested for display in museums across the country. Colonial Williamsburg will lend four guns to “Three Centuries of Tradition: The Renaissance of Custom Sporting Arms in America,” a traveling exhibition jointly curated by Colonial Williamsburg master gunsmith Wallace Gusler and Mark Silver, an independent gunsmith from Michigan. Loaned objects from Colonial Williamsburg will include a high-quality German Jaeger rifle by Wagner, circa 1723; a Virginia rifle by John Shetz, circa 1800-10, which is Colonial Williamsburg’s finest example of an American-made gun; and two fowling weapons--a silver-mounted one hallmarked 1759 by Barbour of Newark and another by William Hutchenson, circa 1730--that were owned by the family of Lord Dunmore, the last Royal Governor of Virginia. The exhibition will open at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts July 12 and will run through Oct. 5, after which it will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston from Jan. 25 to April 26, 2004, and to the Connor Prairie Museum, Fishers, Ind., from June 4 to Aug. 29, 2004.

Colonial Williamsburg also will loan an 1829 painted chest to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville for the exhibition, “The Art of Tennessee.” The chest will be on display Sept. 13, 2003-Jan. 18, 2004, at the Tennessee State Museum. The piece is of particular interest because it was found in Greene County, Tenn.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that operates the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia. Known worldwide as the nation’s largest living history museum, 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