Annual Report 2005
Governor's Palace Refurbished
Folk Art Museum Relocating
Archaeological excavations in Liverpool, England, suggest that this teapot was made in that city by potter Philip Christian between 1765 and 1768. Christian and his competitors supplied Liverpool porcelain in this and other patterns to customers in 18th-century Williamsburg. Fragments of tea and coffee wares in the blue and white bird pattern have been recovered from locations as varied as the Governor's Palace, the Brickhouse Tavern, and the home of blacksmith James Anderson. The acquisition of this well-preserved teapot was funded by the Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections.
Curators and conservators spent much of 2005 undertaking the first major refurbishing of the Governor's Palace in 25 years. The Palace, previously set as it looked from 1768 to 1770 during bachelor governor Lord Botetourt's administration, shifted to 1771–1775 when Lord Dunmore and his family lived there. The most striking adjustments are in the front hall and stair passage where staff reworked displays of firearms and swords. Research and newly discovered documents informed the changes, which are intended to align with 2006 Historic Area programming focused on the Revolution.
In March, construction began within the former garden area of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum for the new Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Samuel Anderson Architects, a New York City firm specializing in museum and library work, designed the facility. Construction is slated for completion in summer 2006. The building opens in late 2006 with a dozen new exhibitions drawn from America's oldest and most widely recognized folk art collection.
Staff mounted two exhibitions in the Wallace Museum to keep elements of the folk art collection on view. "Treasures from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum" featured paintings, quilts, fraktur, sculpture, painted tin wares, ceramics, and painted furniture. "Outside In: Folk Sculpture for the American Landscape" focused on weather vanes, cigar store figures, and shop signs. Also new, "Principles of Freedom" examined the lives of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It included selections from Colonial Williamsburg's Pat and Jerry Epstein American History Document Collection.
Steel girders form the skeleton of the new Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the folk art collection's new home. The AARFAM is to reopen next to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum late in 2006.
Small heirlooms have been added to Bassett Hall, the Williamsburg home of Abby Aldrich and John D. Rockefeller Jr. The accessories, largely personal care items, are a gift from David Rockefeller, the Rockefellers' sole surviving son. John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s shaving set is displayed on a glass shelf in the master bathroom. A black leather case, lined in purple satin and velvet, bears applied gilt metal initials "JDRJr." In addition, there are cylindrical gilt metal containers for shaving soap and a shaving brush, a gilt metal razor from the Gillette Razor Company of Boston and a Tiffany silver toothbrush holder—all engraved with Rockefeller's initials.
In the master bedroom on a dressing table are a clothes brush, a hair brush and matching combs, mounted in silver from Tiffany & Co. of New York. The brushes are engraved "AAR" for Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.