DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum

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Coordinates: 37°16′7.9″N 76°42′16.6″W / 37.268861°N 76.704611°W / 37.268861; -76.704611 DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum also known as the DeWitt Wallace Gallery is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, and is one of Colonial Williamsburg's attractions. It is named for DeWitt Wallace (1889–1981), who was co founder of Reader's Digest magazine with his wife Lila (1889–1984). After enjoying the restored colonial capital for over 50 years as visitors, the Wallaces became major benefactors of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation late in their lives.

Collection and facilities[edit]

The museum features an extensive collection of American and British antiques. Included are furniture, metals, ceramics, glass, paintings, prints, firearms, and textiles from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.[1] The collections join other Williamsburg offerings of art and antiques displayed at dozens of historic buildings, as well as the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, and Bassett Hall.[2]

At the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, the Hennage Auditorium is utilized to offer lectures and musical performances. The museum is located adjacent to the Public Hospital of 1773, which commemorates the first mental health facility in the Colony of Virginia, soon to become the United States.[2] The work of the Public Hospital continues at the Commonwealth of Virginia's Eastern State Hospital, now located nearby in James City County just outside Williamsburg.

DeWitt and Lila Wallace[edit]

In 1922, the Wallaces published the first issue of their Reader's Digest, largely a carefully selected compilation of magazine articles of many types. The concept was well received and soon became one of the most widely circulated periodicals in the world.[3]

For relaxation, the Wallaces had been regular visitors to Colonial Williamsburg for over 50 years when they became involved as major financial supporters late in their lives as part of their philanthropic efforts.[4] Also from New York, their generosity closely followed the enormousness of that of the Rockefeller family. After they died in 1981 and 1984, respectively, the new museum opened in 1985.[2]

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