Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
In 1935, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of John D. Rockefeller, loaned part of her folk art collection to the Ludwell-Paradise House in Williamsburg, Virginia. Those items would eventually serve as the core of a museum in her name. Today, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum has one of the largest collections of American folk art.
Founded in 1957, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum originally opened with 424 objects, all donated or collected by Rockefeller. It currently features more than 3,000 pieces that come alive with bold colors and intricate craftsmanship, all telling the stories of American folklife. The museum features collections of wooden toys, carvings, and needlework, in addition to the art. Passes to Colonial Williamsburg include admission to this museum as well as the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Guided, themed tours exploring various exhibits are offered throughout the week.
Things to know before you go
- The “Down on the Farm” exhibit, which follows the journey of Prince—a carved wooden dog—is a favorite among visiting families.
- The museum shop sells souvenirs and gifts, and an on-site cafe serves traditional American fare.
- Single-day or multi-day tickets to Colonial Williamsburg are available.
- Download the Colonial Williamsburg Explorer app to help navigate the different sites.
- Travelers say that benches throughout the museum make it senior-friendly.
How to get there
The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is located in Colonial Williamsburg at 326 West Francis Street, about 2.5 hours away by car from Washington DC. Or, you can reach the site via Amtrak; the Williamsburg Transportation Center is the closest stop. After arriving at Colonial Williamsburg, hop aboard the free shuttle to visit the main sights including the museum.
When to get there
The museum is open throughout the year, with opening hours from morning until early evening. Overall, fall and spring are popular times to visit Colonial Williamsburg because of the comfortable temperatures, along with views of the changing foliage in fall and budding gardens in spring. Also, throughout the year, the attraction hosts festivities such as Mr. Jefferson's Palace Garden Party in May.
DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum
Next to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum sits the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, which showcases American and British furniture, ceramics, paintings, prints, firearms, and textiles from the 17th through the 19th century. There is also a portrait gallery, and the on-site Hennage Auditorium is where lectures and musical performances take place.
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