Colonial Williamsburg Symposiums

Burnley and Trowbridge mentioned these upcoming CW symposiums and I thought I'd pass the word along.   No more info on the Millinery symposium aside from the call for papers and the date but I'm intrigued! 

 October 20-22 2013

Symposium: Threads of Feeling Unraveled: The London Foundling Hospital's Textile Tokens

In association with Threads of Feeling, the loan exhibition of eighteenth-century textile tokens from the London Foundling Hospital that opens at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum on May 25, 2013, Colonial Williamsburg is hosting a symposium that will explore these objects in context. When a mother left her infant at the Hospital during the mid-eighteenth century, she was asked for a token that was attached to the paper record, allowing her to later identify and reclaim her own child if her circumstances improved. Most of the tokens took the form of scraps of fabric, ribbons, or cuttings from the baby's own clothing, identified in the record by their period names. The textile swatches are an invaluable source for identifying everyday textiles and the clothing of infants. As part of the symposium, exhibit guest curator and noted author John Styles will present two lectures. His keynote lecture will give a "behind the scenes" look at the development of the Threads of Feeling exhibit that received rave reviews in London. Styles will also discuss the history of the Foundling Hospital, the London scene, what is known about the identity of the infants, and the various meanings that can be unraveled from the evocative tokens. Other lectures will discuss clothing for infants and children, what women wore during pregnancy, childhood and orphans in America, the use of similar textiles by adults in Britain and America, and the processes by which the textiles were created.
The Threads of Feeling exhibition was organized by the Foundling Museum in London and curated by John Styles. The artifacts are owned by Coram and stored at and cared for by the London Metropolitan Archives.
The Colonial Williamsburg exhibition of Threads of Feeling was supported in part by a grant from Mary and Clint Gilliland of Menlo Park, California, through the Turner-Gilliland Family Fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.


March 16 - 19

Call for Papers: Millinery through Time

In 2014, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop will celebrate its 60th anniversary. To mark this event, from March 16 through March 19, 2014, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will present a symposium highlighting Millinery through Time.
Throughout history, the millinery trade has changed, adapted, and thrived. Beginning as dealers of Milan wares, milliners evolved to encompass a business of a thousand things, and lately to specialize in a single product, hats. This symposium will explore the rich contribution that milliners and their trade have made to the past and present and look to future possibilities. Papers should address the people, fashion, merchandising, and trade work of the milliner from the 18th to the 21st centuries.
Researchers and designers are invited to submit 300-word abstract proposals for illustrated oral lectures 25 minutes in length. Paper proposals are due to Colonial Williamsburg for peer review by March 25, 2013; acceptances will be announced May 10, 2013. Those whose abstracts are selected for presentation will receive free symposium registration. Abstracts will be published in the symposium brochure.
Submit abstracts to:
Millinery Abstracts Attention: Janea Whitacre, Historic Trades Milliner Colonial Williamsburg Foundation P.O. Box 1776 Williamsburg, Virginia 23187 Or by email at
For general information about the symposium, contact Deb Chapman at 800-603-0948 or 757-220-7255 or via email at


  1. Argh! I was so excited when I saw Menlo Park in there, but no - not *in* Menlo Park, someone from my current town had to go donate so that the exhibit shows up on the other side of the country. Doh!

    I wonder if they'd be interested in a sewing circle...?


Post a Comment