New Muscarelle exhibits to explore marine art, Brafferton’s Indian history

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"Final Days of Endurance," an oil painting by Richard Boyer, is featured in the exhibition that opens Sept. 10 at the Muscarelle Museum.
“Final Days of Endurance,” an oil painting by Richard Boyer, is featured in the exhibition that opens Sept. 10 at the Muscarelle Museum. (Photo courtesy of the American Society of Marine Artists)

Two new exhibits will debut at the Muscarelle Museum of Art this Sept. 10, with one exploring the College of William and Mary’s early 18th century education of American Indians and the other a display of the best in contemporary marine art.

Building the Brafferton: The Founding, Funding and Legacy of America’s Indian School is the first exhibition to examine the history of the Brafferton, the campus’ second oldest building, within the wider networks of trade, politics of church and state, and Great Britain’s colonial enterprise in North America, according to a press release from the museum.

The Brafferton was constructed in 1723 to house the Indian School of the College. The royal charter of 1693 that established William and Mary stated as one of its goals “that the Christian faith be propagated amongst the Western Indians, to the glory of Almighty God.” More than 30 years later, W&M statutes reaffirmed the mission to “teach the Indian boys to read, and write, and vulgar arithmetick … to teach them thoroughly the Catechism and the Principles of the Christian Religion.”

The school, supported by the endowment of an acclaimed British scientist’s estate, closed at the time of the American Revolution, when the endowment was lost.

The exhibition includes historical paintings, engravings, archival documents and contemporary Native American Art, assembled to explore the founding, funding and legacy of one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the nation.

“This exhibition is much more than an assemblage of art. While our focus is primarily the 18th century, the Brafferton’s history is remarkable and it resonates with a number of contemporary elements,” said Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Ph.D., director of the American Indian Resource Center at William & Mary and adjunct curator of Native American Art at the Muscarelle. Moretti-Langholtz and her co-curator for the Brafferton exhibition, Buck Woodard, Ph.D., manager of the American Indian Initiative at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, are drawing on more than 10 years of research on both sides of the Atlantic in curating this exhibition.

The exhibition will be explored also in the museum’s free “Third Thursdays” lecture series.

The Building the Brafferton exhibition will continue through Jan. 8, 2017.

Also opening Sept. 10 is the 17th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Art.

The Muscarelle is the inaugural venue for the 2016 show, a juried competition of more than 100 works that features an array of marine subjects and seascapes utilizing media ranging from bronze and marble to oil and scrimshaw. Hosted every three years by museums across the United States, the American Society of Marine Artists’ exhibition will travel to venues across the country before closing in January 2018 at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. The Muscarelle show will close Dec. 2.

Unique to the Muscarelle display, the museum will partner with the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) at the College of William and Mary Law School. The VCPC provides science-based legal and policy analysis of ecological issues affecting the state’s coastal resources, providing education and advice to a host of Virginia’s decision-makers, according to a press release. The collaboration will provide an opportunity for open dialogue about complex coastal resource management issues.  The museum’s “First Tuesdays” lecture series, free and open to the public, will feature topics ranging from sea level rise, to the Clean Power Plan and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Click here for information about those events.

The Muscarelle show will be the backdrop of the ASMA’s first National Marine Art Conference, a “multi-faceted look into maritime art and how it reaches and affects people from all walks of life in a significant way,” said Kim Shaklee, president and fellow for the American Society of Marine Artists. The conference runs from Sept. 8 through 10 and is open to  members as well as the public. Click here for registration information.

Admission to the museum is $10 during these exhibitions and free to museum members; William and Mary students, faculty and staff; and children under the age of 12.

The Muscarelle Museum of Art is located on the campus of William and Mary at 603 Jamestown Road in Williamsburg. Click here for more information.