Fall Distinguished Speakers Series Kicks Off with a Presentation by Colonial Williamsburg’s Ronald L. Hurst

By Tara White, Development Events Coordinator

As the oppressive heat and humidity of summer abates and the almost forgotten promise of a crisp breeze moves through Charleston’s streets, it is apparent that fall has thankfully arrived yet again. With the return of this more comfortable season also comes the return of Drayton Hall’s Distinguished Speakers Series. Beginning on September 18, the fall season will commence with Ronald L. Hurst, the Vice President for Collections, Conservation, and Museums and The Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Ronald L. Hurst, the Vice President for Collections, Conservation, and Museums and The Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, will be speaking to the Friends of Drayton Hall on Sept. 18.

Ronald L. Hurst, the Vice President for Collections, Conservation, and Museums and The Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, will be speaking to the Friends of Drayton Hall on Sept. 18.

Included in those lengthy titles is Hurst’s lengthy list of responsibilities. He oversees the foundation’s curatorial operations, educational conferences, conservation, architectural preservation, and museum operations, including direction of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. It is at the Dewitt Wallace where Hurst’s ties to Drayton Hall are presently the strongest, as this museum holds his latest curated exhibit, A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South, which features 27 objects from the Drayton Hall collections. His presentation at the Distinguished Speakers Series will highlight this exhibit and provide a look into the history of material culture at Drayton Hall.

Already seven months into its five-year-tenure, A Rich and Varied Culture: the Material World of the Early South has been hailed as a groundbreaking exhibit that is the first of its kind in 50 years. The exhibit highlights the breadth of the material culture of the 18th century – furniture, ceramics, metals, archaeological artifacts, and more.  The objects chosen from Drayton Hall’s Collections span the first and second periods of Drayton Hall when John (1715-1779) and his son Charles (1743-1820) were in residence. Included will be the most significant piece of furniture in Drayton Hall’s collection: a rare, English-made desk and bookcase, c. 1745. Described by Hurst as “the finest example of furniture to survive from Colonial America,” this exquisite piece is a testament to John Drayton’s wealth and sophistication, and his position as one of colonial America’s most significant merchant planters.

Fall Series FlyerIn addition to this exhibit, Hurst also oversees collections containing a myriad of British and American fine, decorative, and folk art,  millions of archaeological artifacts, and thousands of architectural elements. He has published articles and essays and curated multiple exhibitions relating to history and material culture.

If you should have any questions about Hurst’s presentation or the Distinguished Speakers Series please contact Tara White, Development Events Coordinator, by phone at 843-769-2627 or by email at twhite@draytonhall.org. Additionally, if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities please call Tara to learn about how you can keep making these presentations possible.

Know Before You Go

All Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series programs will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. and will be hosted at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, downtown Charleston.
Doors will open by 6:30 p.m., seating is limited, and a dessert reception will follow. This program is free to Friends of Drayton Hall and their guests.
The fall 2014 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speaker Series will bring another trio of accomplished academics, researchers and speakers to Charleston, with a September 18th presentation by Ronald L. Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg, entitled A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South; an October 16th presentation by Andrew O’Shaughnessy, University of Virginia/Monticello, entitled The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire; and a November 20th presentation by Architectural Historian Jill M. Lord entitled Improvement of the Americas: The Architecture of Colonial American Libraries.

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