Virtually Unstoppable: The 73rd Annual Antiques Forum Convenes Online Feb. 19-24, 2021

  • WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia
  • /
  • January 01, 2021

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Portrait of Daniel Trueheart, attributed to William Hodgson, Hanover County, Virginia, ca. 1794, gift of Mr. & Mrs. Bruce B. James, in memory of Margery Woodall James Fleet, 2019.100.2

In its 73rd year, Colonial Williamsburg’s annual Antiques Forum goes virtual Feb 19-24, 2021, when material culture enthusiasts worldwide are invited to learn about latest research discoveries, explore new exhibitions at the Art Museums, and go behind-the-scenes in object storage and the Historic Area – all from the comfort of home, office, or home office.

“This is a time of enormous challenge and sacrifice, and while we will miss gathering in-person for Antiques Forum, we’re grateful that modern technology can bring us together to safely study and celebrate the objects of our shared past,” said Ronald L. Hurst, Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator and vice president for museums, preservation, and historic resources. “We look forward to seeing new and familiar faces on-screen when we connect virtually to share new discoveries and make new memories.”

The virtual program features archived presentations and live-panel discussions with surprise guest speakers. Scheduled guest presenters include:

  • Grahame Long of the Historic Charleston Foundation and Gary Albert of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts co-presenting on John Gough, a free Black 18th-century cabinet maker in Charleston, South Carolina. 
  •  Robert Leath, president of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, sharing groundbreaking discoveries on the Payne Limner, a set of 10 18th-century portraits by a previously unidentified artist depicting members of Virginia’s Payne family.
  • Annabel Westman, executive director of the Attingham Trust, examining the usage and design of trimmings in historic homes from the 17th to early 20th centuries. 
  • Christopher "Kit" Maxwell of the Corning Museum of Glass on glass in 18th-century Britain.
  • Lan Morgan from the Peabody Essex Museum, discussing a new exhibition in its Asian Export Art Gallery.

        Virtual tours highlighting some of the newest exhibitions in the expanded Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg will feature Katie McKinney, the Margaret Beck Pritchard Assistant Curator of Maps and Prints, leading a journey through “Promoting America: Maps of the Colonies and the New Republic,” and Tara Chicirda, curator of furniture, showcasing “Keeping Time: Tall Case Clocks.”

        Portrait of Mary Garland Trueheart, attributed to William Hodgson, Hanover County, Virginia, ca. 1794 Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Bruce B. James, in memory of Margery Woodall James Fleet, 2019.100.2

        Colonial Williamsburg Director of Archaeology Jack Gary will provide an update from the field on excavations of Custis Square and First Baptist Church’s first permanent site on South Nassau Street, and Erik Goldstein, senior curator of mechanical arts and numismatics will guide us through a tour of military treasures in Colonial Williamsburg's collection. Kimberly Ivey, senior curator of textiles, goes behind the scenes of the Rumford Needlework Collection, and Janine Skerry, senior curator of metals, joins Angelika Kuettner, associate curator of ceramics and glass, to discuss the synergy between silver and ceramics.

        Hurst will share his annual update on what is new to the Colonial Williamsburg collections, while Margaret Beck Pritchard, deputy chief curator, highlights pieces made and used in Williamsburg. 

        In continued partnership with the Carolyn and Michael McNamara Young Scholars Lectures sponsored by the Decorative Arts Trust, Rachel Asbury Cole will place a Mexican dressing case in a global context, Andrew Mellon Curatorial Intern Scott Merrifield will lecture on plane-maker Cesar Chelor, and Emily Wells will discuss the connection between geography, education, and feminine virtue during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

        Program registration is $175 and includes all virtual lectures and demonstrations, plus a ticket voucher for a multi-day future visit to Colonial Williamsburg good through Dec. 31, 2021. Registrants may purchase additional Colonial Williamsburg Multiday admission passes during the same period for $22, a $45.99 value. Scholarships are available with an application deadline of Jan. 6.

        Additional information and registration is available at by visiting the “Learn” section and clicking “Conferences,” and by calling 1-800-603-0948 toll-free or via email at

        In addition to the Decorative Arts Trust, the 73rd annual Antiques Forum is possible thanks to the generous support of Jeffery S. Evans & Associates, Skinner, Inc., Brunk Auctions, William & Mary’s National Institute of American History & Democracy, and Mark and Loretta Roman in honor of the Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections.

        Information is also available by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.

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