at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
Paper Trail: Documenting Rites of Passage
in German-speaking America
The exhibition of highly decorative certificates documenting births, baptisms and marriages in the Mary B. and William Lehman Guyton Gallery, highlights the traditions of German-speaking people in America. Called fraktur, these hand-drawn and colored documents are visually appealing records of 19th-century individuals.
This exhibition was made possible by Martha R. Rittenhouse in memory of her parents, David and Evelyn Rittenhouse, and her brother, Ward Rittenhouse.
Through May 2015
American Folk Portraits
This exhibition of folk art portraits in the Gladys & Franklin Clark Foundation Gallery highlights the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum's superb collection of primarily 19th-century images of children, adults and families. The exhibition focuses on the period 1700-1850. Old favorites — such as Baby in Red Chair, one of the earliest pictures to enter the collection; and a group portrait of the Smith family of Richmond, Virginia, the most recent addition to the collection — join more than 40 other portraits to offer a rich and diverse look at a period before photography changed the way people saw each other and themselves.
Explore this intriguing art form through the study of six objects ranging from a 7-foot tall cheval glass to a doll-sized, roll-top desk in the Peebles Gallery. Notch or chip carving required few tools and little training. In the most common form of tramp art, notches were carved into the edges of cigar box wood, usually with a penknife, and the carved wood was then stacked and fastened with small nails or glue to create detailed, three-dimensional designs. Men with spare time in the evenings created wonderfully layered objects that decorated the homes of family and friends. Furniture pieces like the cheval glass were made from large chunks of wood but with the same notched/chip carved technique.
Through October 4, 2014
Quilts in the Baltimore Manner
This exhibition in the Foster and Muriel McCarl Gallery features 19th-century quilts made in and around the Baltimore area. The exhibition showcases 12 fine examples of the Baltimore quilt tradition with a sampling of quilts made in nearby counties as well as in parts of Virginia. Some of the most highly treasured quilts of the 19th century are the distinctive appliquéd album quilts made in Baltimore between 1845 and 1855. The third largest city in the U.S. during the 1840s, Baltimore also boasted the largest seaport and had a strong textile industry. These colorful, elaborately designed bed coverings are a feast for the eyes. This exhibition is underwritten in part by private gifts to the Quilt Exhibition Fund.
Through May 26, 2014
Sidewalks to Rooftops: Outdoor Folk Art
This exhibit in the Leslie Anne Miller and Richard B. Worley Gallery examines signboards, storefront figures, weather vanes, marine carvings, whirligigs, carousel animals, and other pieces originally intended for use outdoors. These 19th- and 20th-century works survived the elements and bear witness to the creative spirit that once enlivened the American landscape.
This exhibition was made possible by a gift from Barry M. Boone in loving memory of his wife, Linda.
Introduction to American Folk Art
This exhibit in the Jan Curtis and Frank J. Spayth Gallery introduces visitors to the museum and to the collector Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. At the beginning of the 20th century, Mrs. Rockefeller admired the artful expressions of nonacademic artists from the past and present. She set out to acquire pieces that reflected the best of the American people. When she died in 1948, she left her extensive collection of folk art to Colonial Williamsburg. John D. Rockefeller Jr., in honor of his wife, built the museum in 1957 to display her collection.
Down on the Farm
This popular exhibition in the Penelope P. and Dr. Sergio V. Proserpi Gallery follows the story of Prince, a carved wooden dog, as he explores the countryside and meets up with animals in paintings, sculptures, and toys. Read rhyming text that tells of his adventures as he encounters weather vane roosters, carved ducks, and wooden horses.
Conserving the Carolina Room
This exhibition in the Rex and Pat Lucke Gallery highlights the current research on and conservation of an 1836 painted room acquired by the museum in the 1950s. Each board, wainscot and door has been investigated and treated to bring it closer to the original appearance.
The conservation of the Carolina Room was made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Rex A. Lucke of Elkhorn, Nebraska, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional conservation support is provided by the Mildred and J.B. Hickman Conservation Endowment and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowed Conservation Fund.
Inspiration and Ingenuity: American Stoneware
Explore stoneware from the 19th century through to present day and discover how the tradition of decorating utilitarian stoneware evolved into an art form all its own.
Through October 2014
Cross Rhythms: Folk Musical Instruments
This exhibition in the Elizabeth M. and Joseph M. Handley Gallery features banjos, fiddles, and dulcimers from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Highlights include a piano built into a chest of drawers and a record-playing hippocerous.