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Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum
326 West Francis Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 220-7554 |

Changing Keys:
Keyboard Instruments for America, 1700–1830

Changing Keys

From Harpsichord to Pianoforte

Ongoing exhibit

Explore the evolution of spinets, harpsichords, and pianos in the 18th century in this exhibition of more than 25 instruments. Examine the differences in the various types of keyboards as well as the evolution of the instrument over time.

In the Iris and Mark Coblitz Gallery and the Levanti Family Gallery.

Keyboard instruments were an integral part of the cultural milieu of Virginia’s colonial and post-colonial period. The second known public performance on a piano in America took place at the Raleigh Tavern.

Featured instruments, ranging in date from 1700 to 1830, are drawn from Colonial Williamsburg’s significant collection of English keyboards. Many have never been exhibited before. Two reproductions are included so that they can be played for visitors. Models of detailed aspects of the keyboard allow visitors further insight into the workings of the instruments.

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