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Current Exhibits
at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

  • A Celebration of Quilts

    Take in this new exhibition in the McCarl Gallery that features twelve quilts that represent the diversity of quilts made in American from the 18th through 20th centuries. Several of the quilts are new to the collection and have never before been seen by the public. Exhibited quilts include a variety of techniques, from whole cloth to appliqué and piecing. They represent makers from many regions and ethnic groups, including Anglo-Americans, African-Americans, Hawaiians, and Amish.

    June 7, 2014, through June 2016

  • Paper Trail: Documenting Rites of Passage in German-speaking America

    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

    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.

    Ongoing exhibition

  • Tramp Art

    Tramp Art

    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 November 30, 2014

  • Sidewalks to Rooftops: Outdoor Folk Art

    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.

    Ongoing exhibition

  • Weathervane

    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.

    Ongoing exhibition

  • Down on the Farm

    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.

    Ongoing exhibition

  • Conserving the Carolina Room

    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.

    Ongoing exhibition

  • Inspiration and Ingenuity: American Stoneware

    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 November 30

  • Cross Rhythms: Folk Musical Instruments

    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.

    Ongoing exhibition


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