The St. Michaels Museum cordially invites to its 2022 annual meeting all those interested in a lecture discussing how the Colonial Williamsburg restoration profoundly influenced the way America views restoration and designs suburban communities. “Colonial Williamsburg and the Invention of Historic Preservation” will be the keynote address by Prof. Michael Olmert at the annual meeting of the St. Michaels Museum on Sunday, May 15, at 2:00 p.m. on the Museum campus at 201 E. Chestnut Street in St. Michaels.
The author of The Official Guide to Colonial Williamsburg and dozens of articles on historic preservation, University of Maryland professor Michael Olmert will describe how the restoration style used by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the 1920’s transformed towns like Easton and the subsequent development of the American suburb. He is a professor in the English Department at the University of Maryland and has published some 50 historic articles in the Colonial Williamsburg Journal. He is on the Board of the Saint Michaels Museum and leads Easton walking tours for the Talbot Historic Society.
300 years ago, Williamsburg, Virginia, was a cosmopolitan English community and the government seat of the richest and the most important colony in America. A major market for trade and commerce, it was also an intellectual center. But it was not the quaint idyllic community reflected by modern-day Colonial Williamsburg—whose architecture, gardens, and overall “style” changed the look of the 20th Century American suburb. All that came about as a result of one of the world’s largest historical restorations ever undertaken, which started in 1926, bankrolled by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Prof. Olmert’s talk will examine the modern history of Williamsburg and how it became the most-studied 18th Century town in the world. He will detail how the research required for its recreation in the 20th Century caused seismic changes in post-medieval archaeology, architectural history, American history, town planning, immigration & slavery, population studies, historic trades, dendrochronology, law and justice, restoration-vs.-reconstruction, 17th, 18th, and 19th Century studies, and more.
The St. Michaels Museum welcomes to its annual meetings all those interested in hearing Prof. Olmert’s fascinating lecture.