Creative Weekend: Williamsburg’s Art Museums, Galleries, and Studios

With the renowned and recently renovated art museums of Colonial Williamsburg a short stroll away, a studio where you can take classes just down the street, and a world-class jewelry and art gallery space right next door, you’ll have the vibrant local art scene at your fingertips when you stay at our Williamsburg bed and breakfast.

Art Museums in Colonial Williamsburg

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg – Folk Art, Decorative Art, and Everything In Between

Both art enthusiasts and history buffs will be in gallery heaven at the art museums of Colonial Williamsburg, as their vast collection spans several centuries and includes over 70,000 pieces across various styles. Each of the two wings – the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum – has a unique artistic vision. A massive renovation to both museums began in 2017, adding over 60,000 square feet of extra space, with an updated grand entrance, lobby space, and concourse on Nassau St. Even if you’ve been to the art museums in the past, it’s worth visiting again, as the renovation now allows for much more art to be displayed among multiple gallery rooms, bringing thousands of new artifacts out of storage and into these updated spaces.

The decorative arts museum includes a wide-ranging variety of items, including handmade wooden furniture, grandfather clocks (part of the current Keeping Time exhibition), ornate ceramics, incredibly detailed glasswork (such as 300-year-old chandeliers), and one of the world's largest and oldest map collections, specifically maps of Virginia made by the earliest settlers who charted the intricate details of the Chesapeake Bay coastline. Next door (both museums are easily accessible from the main entrance), the folk art galleries comprise over 4,000 objects from self-taught artists, with current exhibits highlighting early 19th-century paintings by beloved folk artist Edward Hicks, portraits of ordinary citizens of the day in the We the People collection, and an astonishing array of quilts made with bold designs. The folk art museum traces its roots back to avid art collector and philanthropist Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, who donated hundreds of pieces of folk art to Colonial Williamsburg in the late 1930s, having begun collecting art at a young age and developing a keen sense for underrecognized talent within the art world. In the decades since, the museum has expanded dramatically with a mix of donations and acquisitions, focusing specifically on self-trained and more under-the-radar artists who likely would’ve been overlooked by history without Rockefeller’s initial seed of inspiration and the museum’s curatorial dedication ever since. Helpful tip: The Art Museums are included on the daily, multi day and annual passes.  If you just want to visit the art museums of Colonial Williamsburg, an art museum-specific ticket or just $14.99.

Colonial Folk Art Studio – Get Creative in a Studio Space Welcoming to All and Browse Local Folk Art at Juxtaposition Gallery

With their motto, “Our story begins where the Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Folk Art Museum ends,” husband-and-wife team Beverly and Davie Burgdorf continue in the same tradition as Rockefeller did a century ago and have been influential on the local Williamsburg art scene for over a decade. Since starting in 2011 at the Williamsburg Antiques Mall (well worth a visit on a different day trip, with their endless rows of historical and antique art, among other collectibles), they have since developed the Colonial Folk Art Studio and Gallery space, just a mile from our location on Bacon Ave. Beverly studied art in college and brings a wealth of teaching experience to the studio, leading many of their workshops and “mini” classes, a unique chance to learn and create in a small-group format. They invite all ages and abilities, so don’t feel nervous if you are new to art – after all, folk art's roots begin in humble settings much like this, far from the fancy galleries of the upper-crust art world.

If you came away inspired after you visited the art museums of Colonial Williamsburg, join a class at the Folk Art Studio, where you can learn a variety of disciplines, including ceramics (both wheel and slab), acrylic painting, or mixed media. Their mission is to get people making art, embracing creativity in a supportive atmosphere, guided by the belief that “folk art” is within all of us. Be sure to check out Burgdorf’s more recently expanded Juxtaposition gallery space next door, where she displays her art alongside pieces from over a dozen local artists. The Burgdorfs are also lifelong book collectors, reflected in the gallery’s impressive stacks of rare antiquated books – works of art themselves.

fife and drum inn in prince geaorge street

Ryan Eure Designs – Our Talented Artistic Neighbor in Downtown Williamsburg

When you come and go from your Fife and Drum room or suite during your stay with us, you can’t miss the downstairs door next to ours on Prince George St, which leads into the gallery space of Ryan Eure Designs. After getting his start in ceramics, Eure developed a passion for fine metalwork and jewelry, interning locally for a year before eventually opening his downtown storefront in 2021. On the ground floor, marvel at his exquisite high-grade silver creations, ranging from hoop earrings and bangle bracelets to gemstone-inlaid rings and shimmering blue topaz pendants. If you’re on a romantic getaway, mark the occasion by picking out matching men’s/women’s bracelets made from classic sterling silver. Eure also makes breathtaking engagement rings, so if you’re thinking of asking the big question soon, inquire about getting one of his handmade rings or creating a design of your own. We’d love to make your proposal that much more special with our romance package – we’ll help set the perfect ambiance with a dozen roses and a bottle of your favorite wine ready in your room.

After checking out Eure’s jewelry, head downstairs to the basement, where his “downtown gallery” showcases some of the best artists in the Williamsburg area. Among a roster of esteemed artists, you’ll see paintings by Gulay Berryman, who runs a well-respected Williamsburg online art gallery and has exhibited throughout Europe; renaissance-style oil works by Andre Lucero, many depicting beautiful natural landscapes along the Virginia peninsula; and finely crafted equestrian sculptures by Jo Wright.

Stay with us and experience all that the Williamsburg art scene offers, from the historic halls within the art museums of Colonial Williamsburg to rootsy, hands-on studios and refined gallery spaces!

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