Colonial Williamsburg has an online museum! If you live in the southeast US you probably know about Colonial Williamsburg, if only as a family destination and historical reconstruction. I was shocked to find out that Colonial Williamsburg has tens of thousands of antiques! And that only about half of them are publicly viewable!
That’s been changed. Colonial Williamsburg has started an “eMuseum” which currently has 3300 items but promises to add information on the whole collection over time. It’s available at http://emuseum.history.org/code/emuseum.asp.
From this site you can look at highlights of the collections (collection highlights include “American Furniture: From Virginia to Vermont,” “Great Silver Collections from Colonial Williamsburg,” and “Pounds, Pence & Pistareens: Coins & Currency of Colonial America.”) or you can do a search. I did a search for chair and got 223 results. Results include thumbnails and are provided six to a page.
I got interested in a corner chair and clicked on its image for more details.
The details page had an exhaustive description of the chair which I couldn’t follow, not being fluent in chairconstructionese (“The bases of the splats are let into open mortises on the inner faces of the rear seat rails and then covered with black walnut inserts…”)
There are also details about the age of item, place of construction, how it came to Colonial Williamsburg, and — most interesting to me — commentary about the chair itself, including details about its design, history, and possible artisans. If you want a better image of the item, click on the thumbnail in the details page to get a larger image in the popup window. Still not as large as I’d prefer, though…
If you’re at all interested in antiques, visit this museum. And if you’re looking for search terms to try, give silver a whirl. Some beautiful items.