A Christmas tree decorated with hand-made folk art ornaments, the
traditional holiday centerpiece of the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
This year, our family decided to spend Christmas week in Colonial Williamsburg. Over the next few posts, I'll share some of my favorite sights from "Christmas past" around town, but here's a little taster to whet your appetite in the meantime. One of my (many) favorite places to visit in Williamsburg during the Christmas season is the museum building which houses the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection. Every year, the museum displays a massive two-storey Christmas tree in its atrium, which is literally drowning in hand-crafted ornaments. The ornaments, many inspired by the folk art pieces in the collection, are created by the museum staff and local volunteers. Over the years, more and more ornaments have been added, and the tree itself has become a symbol of the tradition of American hand-crafted artistry over the centuries.
This year, I captured a handful of the many beautiful little pieces that reflect the clothing and fashions of the past. What fashionable miniature treasures can be you spot in the pictures? :-)
Some of the ornaments, like the two above and the one below, feature portraits from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection. The one below is one of my favorite portraits to bring out during our interpretive fashion programs and presentations because little girls delight in giggling to learn that their brothers would have been dressed like these two little boys in the eighteenth century!
Below is one of my absolute favorites. Does she remind you of anything in particular?
If you'd like to read more about folk art ornaments and find some inspiration for creating your own, I highly recommend The Art-Full Tree: Ornaments to Make Inspired by the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, by Jan Gilliam and Christina Westenberger (the latter of whom we had the pleasure to meet during the recent B&T gown workshop!). Most of the ornaments featured in the book are currently displayed on the tree in the museum.