28 February 2012

The Museums at Colonial Williamsburg

While visiting Colonial Williamsburg, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit another folk art museum. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum are situated at the southwest end of the village. Admission is included in the ticket to Williamsburg. On the weekends the museums are open til 7 p.m. so it's a great activity to do at the end of the day as we did.

Both museums are technically in the same space, so you can wander between the two a bit or connect directly from one to the other. The museums included grand collections of kitchenware, furniture, weaponry, clothing, signage, ship ornamentation, quilts and pottery.

There was also a very interesting gallery on museum conservation and all the work required to protect works of written word, paintings, fabrics, woods and other items often seen in museums. It's easy to forget all the work that goes into restoring and maintaining pieces in museum-ready condition. There was also a great display detailing the refurbishing of one of the Williamsburg buildings and all that was uncovered as they took the building apart and rebuilt it according to original construction techniques.

You never quite know what you'll find in a Folk Art museum. The animals on this carousel looked as if they might come to life and begin to create mischief in the museum. It was a little spooky yet fascinating.

The museums also have a very lovely gift shop filled with unique jewelry, housewares, folk art, glassware and books. We spent quite a while there pouring through the shelves of interesting merchandise.

I also must mention that Colonial Williamsburg has some great programs for homeschoolers. On the official website there is also a section filled with educational activities for kids and a special section for parents and teachers. That would be a great way to get kids excited about visiting and knowledgeable about Williamsburg before a visit.

I have found when traveling with family that the more invested each person becomes learning in advance about the destination the more enjoyable and rich the experience becomes for all. Everyone ends up contributing what they learned and everyone benefits from each person's enthusiasm and interests.

In every state in the country and any country in the world there are great historical sites worth a visit. Next time you are looking for something to do, consider paying a visit to a local historical site.

all images by kalanicut

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