October 1, 2022

Picturing New Connections: Belmont Event Targets Alzheimer’s

Let’s Go to the Fair!
Thursday, September 8, 10:30am
Gari Melchers Home & Studio

Gari Melchers Home & Studio is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Richmond Chapter, to offer Picturing New Connections—a small, welcoming program for people with early stage memory loss, their families or care partners. These interactive tours include guided discussions in the studio and gallery space, followed by a hands-on art experience. Emphasis is placed on engaging participants through music, touch and smell. Each hour-long program features a unique theme, paintings and art project.


Gari Melchers Home & Studio charges a $5 fee per person for participating.

Questions? Please contact GMHS Education and Communication Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Receives Restoration Award


L-R: Steve Stokes, owner, Stokes of England Blacksmithing Company; Scott Harris, Executive Director, UMW Museums; Tim Winther, owner, Dominion Traditional Building Group (with daughter Lillian); Hunter Shackleford (UMW ’20), Lawrence King (UMW ’20), and Sam Biggers (UMW ’16), all of Dominion Traditional Building Group.

L-R: Steve Stokes, owner, Stokes of England Blacksmithing Company; Scott Harris, Executive Director, UMW Museums; Tim Winther, owner, Dominion Traditional Building Group (with daughter Lillian); Hunter Shackleford (UMW ’20), Lawrence King (UMW ’20), and Sam Biggers (UMW ’16), all of Dominion Traditional Building Group.

At its annual meeting on March 27, 2022, the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc. presented the E. Boyd Graves Preservation Award to Gari Melchers Home and Studio for restoration of the ca. 1850 Horseshoe Staircase at Belmont. The museum shared the award with project Dominion Traditional Building Group of Marshall, Virginia and Stokes of England Blacksmithing Company of Keswick, Virginia. The award publicly recognizes notable preservation achievements made by groups or individuals during the previous year that contributed to the protection, understanding, appreciation, and revitalization of the Fredericksburg region’s history and historic resources. Originally known as the Preservation Achievement Award, the name was changed in 1988 to honor the late E. Boyd Graves, a founding member of HFFI, for his many years of service to local preservation and the instrumental role he played in the protection, restoration, and adaptive reuse of some of Fredericksburg’s most recognizable historic landmarks.

The Horseshoe Staircase at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

The Horseshoe Staircase at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

The Horseshoe Staircase is believed to date to ca. 1850, when Belmont’s owner, Joseph B. Ficklen, expanded the house. While the iron railing was likely fabricated in Philadelphia or another Pennsylvania community, initial construction of the stone steps almost certainly involved the Ficklens’ enslaved workforce. The staircase was included in the inaugural list of Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts in 2011. Nearly 30 individual and organizational donors funded the $100,000 restoration project. Stokes of England completed conservation of the iron railing in March 2021, and Dominion Traditional Building Group undertook disassembly, repair, and reinstallation of the stone staircase from August to October 2021. Completion of the stonework, delayed by the onset of winter, is anticipated in April 2022, with a public unveiling to be announced.

Festival Premieres Live Music at Silent Film Screening

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the University of Mary Washington Music Department are partnering to present a three-day Chamber Music Festival to run from March 18-20, 2022 in the intimate setting of Gari Melchers’ Pavilion at Belmont.

Silent movies image with Charlie Chaplin“This year we are very excited to feature The Sounds of Silents, a double screening of two silent film classics accompanied by live music,” says Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron. “It will be an opportunity to experience a now-lost cultural genre and ought to be a really entertaining evening.”

Acclaimed composer Dr. Andrew Simpson is curating the program and will join an ensemble to premier his musical scores for the comedic silents Easy Street with Charlie Chaplin and The Balloonatic with Buster Keaton, breaking briefly to discuss the genre of silent film as a nexus of drama, visual art and music.

The Chamber Music Festival is presented each spring featuring student, faculty, and professional groups. The Festival opens on Friday evening, March 18 at 7:30 PM with performances by the UMW Flute and Guitar Ensemble and the Chamber Music Trio under the direction of Doug Gately. Various musical styles and genres spanning the centuries will be performed. Day three of the Festival, Sunday, March 20, 3:00PM, showcases the United States Air Force Woodwind Quintet.

Admission is free for the performances on March 18 and 20. The Sounds of Silents on March 19 requires advance ticketing. For more information go to https://www.garimelchers.org/sounds-of-silents/.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington Street in Falmouth, Virginia, a quarter-mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.

Belmont to Host Home for the Holidays

Belmont, the historic home of artist Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne, will celebrate the season, with decorations on view through Jan. 2, 2022. In the 1920s, the Melchers took great delight in festively decorating their elegant country house during the holidays.

Although Gari Melchers divided his time between his commercial headquarters in New York City and his Virginia retreat, neighbors could always count on finding him at home during the yuletide season. He was sure to have dragged friends and family from the city to an old-fashioned Christmas feast, with fresh turkey raised at Belmont and Maryland crab soup specified by his Baltimore-born wife.

The interior decorations were arranged by Belmont Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron using Mrs. Melchers’ journal entries and archival materials to inspire the look and warmth of the welcoming home. This year’s exterior decorations are provided by the Sunlight Garden Club.
“Home for the Holidays” is included with museum admission. GariMelchers.org

Melchers Paintings on Loan for Florida Exhibition

A selection of 18 paintings from the collection of Gari Melchers Home & Studio are on loan to the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables, Florida. The paintings are featured in the Lowe’s exhibition An American Master at Home and Abroad: Gari Melchers (1860-1932) on view from November 18, 2021- February 13, 2022. 

Jointly curated with the Lowe Museum of Art, this exhibition surveys more than a half-century of Melchers’ career with key examples of the painting styles he favored, including landscape, genre scenes and portraiture. 

Gari Melchers was exceptionally versatile in his subject matter, being associated with Dutch peasant life, portraiture, the mother and child theme, landscapes, the nude and still life, as well as mural painting. His stylistic approach was equally eclectic, assimilating many of the progressive tendencies circulating around 1900, from academic realism to naturalism, symbolism and impressionism, but always in the service of old-fashioned, time-honored themes. In this way, Melchers amalgamated the old and the new into something uniquely his own. 


Holmes, Crow-Dolby to serve on Fredericksburg PR Society board

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

UMW Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes

UMW Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes

University of Mary Washington Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes was recently announced as the president of the Fredericksburg Public Relations Society Board for the 2021-22 season. Gari Melchers Home and Studio Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby will serve as the board’s recording secretary. Read more.








Beauty in the Rough a New Display at Belmont

Study for The Nativity, wash drawing, by Gari Melchers

Study for The Nativity, wash drawing, by Gari Melchers

Fourteen preliminary sketches and studies executed by local painting legend, Gari Melchers, are on view at Belmont, the Gari Melchers Home and Studio until June 1, 2021.

The collection at Belmont is the largest Gari Melchers inventory of its kind, including hundreds of sketches and studies that document his personal creative methodology. When working out a conceptual plan, the artist considered one or more design elements at a time, such as composition, proportion, form, light, color and perspective. Many of his experimental drawings eventually found their culmination as easel paintings, and the comparison of preliminary to finished works gives one the sense of looking over the artist’s shoulder as he gains new insights, eliminates undesirable pictorial effects and discovers better solutions. What’s also apparent is that his sketches and studies can have so strong a visual appeal due to the spontaneity of the effort that many of his examples can stand alone as works of art.

University of Mary Washington Museums to Reopen March 15

Fredericksburg, VA: Two museums administered by the University of Mary Washington—Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum—will reopen to the public on Monday, March 15 after a three-month shutdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both museums will be open to general visitors only, with no public programs or facility rentals through the end of June, 2021. They will operate with physical and policy adaptations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 as required under #ForwardUMW and Forward Virginia Phase 3. Measures include increased cleaning, provision of hand sanitizer stations for visitors, limitations in group size, and adjusted traffic flows. Visitors will be required to wear masks inside museum buildings and practice social distancing. Specific COVID-related details are noted on the museums’ websites.

“All of our staff members are eager to welcome visitors back to our museums,” observed Scott Harris, Executive Director of UMW Museums. “We significantly increased our online educational content during the pandemic, and will continue to provide these resources, but nothing equals the thrill and impact of visiting in person.”

University of Mary Washington Museums Temporarily Closing

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum will close to the public beginning Monday, November 23, 2020, and remain closed until Monday, January 4, 2021. This corresponds to the time period during which most University of Mary Washington facilities will be closed or operating with limited public access.

The Stafford County Tourist Information Center, administered by Gari Melchers Home and Studio, will also be closed to the public during this period. For information on Stafford County attractions, please visit https://www.tourstaffordva.com/.

The temporary closing is a precautionary measure taken in response to actual and potential increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Virginia and nationally, especially during the forthcoming holidays. Prior to January 4, University Museums leadership, in conjunction with the UMW administration, will decide whether remaining closed beyond January 4 is warranted. Such decisions will be closely aligned with the general public health situation, including any applicable local, state, or federal directives.

University of Mary Washington Museums offer a wide array of online educational resources, which may be accessed at the following sites:

Gari Melchers Home and Studio “Learn” page: https://www.garimelchers.org/education/learn/.

James Monroe Museum “Hands-On History” page: https://jamesmonroemuseum.umw.edu/about-james-monroe/hands-on-history/.

Papers of James Monroe “COVID-19 Resources” page: https://academics.umw.edu/jamesmonroepapers/covid-19-resources/.

The University of Mary Washington Museums, comprising Gari Melchers Home and Studio, the James Monroe Museum, and the Papers of James Monroe, support and enhance the educational mission of the University. In accordance with their respective missions, the component sites and programs of UMW Museums collect, preserve, and interpret artistic, cultural, and historic resources; promote scholarship and the diffusion of knowledge; provide experiential learning opportunities for UMW students; and support economic development through heritage tourism.

FBI Returns Gari Melchers Painting Stolen by Nazis to Owner’s Heirs

A version of the original Skaters, owned by PAFA, is on display.

A version of the original Skaters, owned by PAFA, is on display.

A Gari Melchers’ painting, “Winter,” originally owned by the Mosse family in Berlin, Germany, and looted by the Nazis when they fled the country, has been repatriated to the owner’s heirs. As reported in a 2019 media release, the FBI seized the painting from the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York, who was unaware of its origins.

The painting’s successful restitution has been widely covered in the press. Here is an article sampling.

Gari Melchers painting stolen by Nazis is returned to family of original owners (The Free Lance-Star, October 16, 2020)

Painting returned 87 years after Nazis stole it from a Jewish family in Berlin (CNN, October 16, 2020)

Jewish family’s painting looted by Nazis in 1933 is returned (Associated Press, October 15, 2020)

United States Secures Return of Artwork 87 Years After Nazis Looted it from Jewish Family in Berlin (United States Department of Justice, October 15, 2020)

FBI returns painting stolen by Nazis to owners heirs (Houston Chronicle, October 15, 2020)

Gari Melchers cribbed from his original oil painting Skaters (owned by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, or PAFA) to create our watercolor version by the same name. The stolen Winter is a related version.