The first large-scale expansion and upgrade to the building that houses The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s two world-class museums — the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum — broke ground in April 2017, marking the conclusion of a $40 million capital campaign. This project has been the primary capital priority of the Foundation’s $600 million Campaign for History and Citizenship. Construction, which began in September, 2017, will take approximately 2 ½ years. The museums will remain open during the expansion project.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg house internationally renowned collections of American folk art through the present day and British and American fine and decorative arts dating from 1670 to 1840. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum—celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2017—is the oldest continuously operating institution in the United States dedicated solely to the collection, exhibition and preservation of American folk art. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, which marked its 30th anniversary in 2015, features furniture, paintings, silver, numismatics, ceramics, tools, textiles, maps, weapons and other media. Combined, these diverse and extensive collections play a critical role in Colonial Williamsburg’s mission to inform and engage Americans in the dramatic story of our country’s founding.
When complete, the new wing will add 65,000 square feet with a 22 percent increase in exhibition space to the Art Museums, which will enable The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to display considerably more of our celebrated collections. The expansion will also significantly improve public access to the building through a new visitor-friendly entrance on Nassau Street.
See the art museums expansion in progress.