June 29, 2022

Study for Iconic Melchers on View

In the Dunes by Gari Melchers

In the Dunes by Gari Melchers

A painting entitled In the Dunes is on display at Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Belmont, as a companion to Melchers’ monumental In Holland through January 3, 2021, thanks to a generous loan by the Sue C. Lang Family Trust.

In 1887, Gari Melchers began experimenting with the concept of rustic figures meeting on the dunes of Holland. The survival of several sketches in Belmont’s archives indicates that Melchers produced numerous iterations for what would become his iconic painting In Holland. In the Dunes is just such an example, an almost exact replica of In Holland though on a far smaller scale. In the Dunes was unknown to experts until it resurfaced in a private auction in Hamburg, Germany, in 2018 and sold to a local Fredericksburg collector. Because of its cursory application of paint it presumably started life as a small-scale study for In Holland, but the artist probably returned to it later, giving it enough finish to stand on its own as an easel painting.

University of Mary Washington Museums to Reopen September 14

Two museums administered by the University of Mary Washington will reopen to the public on Monday, September 14, 2020 after a six-month shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at 224 Washington Street in Falmouth is a National Historic Landmark that interprets the legacy of American impressionist painter Gari Melchers (1860-1932) and the 18th-century Belmont estate he and his wife, Corinne Lawton Melchers (1880-1955), purchased in 1916. Melchers was a widely-respected and prolific artist whose work included portraits of prominent figures in business and politics, as well as landscapes and figure paintings. The property was bequeathed to the Commonwealth of Virginia by Corinne Melchers and opened to the public in 1975. It features a furnished house, Melchers’ spacious studio, and galleries showcasing the world’s largest collection of his works. The 27-acre site includes a pavilion for programs and rental events, ornamental landscaping, and woodland walking trails. The museum store and visitor center building serves as the Stafford County Tourist Information Center. For more information, including policies related to COVID-19, visit www.garimelchers.org.

The James Monroe Museum at 908 Charles Street in Fredericksburg is a National Historic Landmark that interprets the life and legacy of James Monroe (1758-1831), a soldier, statesman, diplomat, and fifth president of the United States. Monroe’s fifty-year career included negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, influential involvement in securing the Missouri Compromise, and the 1823 foreign policy statement that bears his name, the Monroe Doctrine. The museum, located on the site of Monroe’s law office, exhibits furniture, household items, paintings, and other decorative arts objects, many with a history of White House use. For more information, including policies related to COVID-19, visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

Both museums will be open to general visitors only, with no public programs or facility rentals through the end of 2020. They will operate with physical and policy adaptations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 as required under Forward Virginia Phase 3 and #ForwardUMW. 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 shutdown, and will continue to provide these resources, but nothing equals the thrill and impact of visiting in person.”

UMW Museums Receive Grant and Debut 3D Virtual Tours

Gari Melchers Home and Studio 3-D and virtual tour imageIn May, the University of Mary Washington Museums received a $5,480 Community Relief Fund grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region to increase online educational content. 

Both the James Monroe Museum (JMM) and Gari Melchers Home & Studio (GMHS) are pleased to announce the launch of their interactive and immersive 3D Virtual Tours. These 3D models, or “digital twins,” provide a real world, walk-through experience from the comfort of home. Explore the museums using either the Dollhouse or Floor-by-Floor layout experience. Event rental clients will benefit from the Measurement Mode option that allows users to take and share property measurements with a simple click. 

The tours are further enhanced by videos, high-resolution photography, and artifact information, plus links to blog posts, lesson plans, and online museum stores.  

Gari Melchers Home and Studio’s 3D Virtual Studio, Galleries, Pavilion, Historic House Museum, and Museum Store Tours 

James Monroe Museum’s 3D Virtual Tour 

Questions? Contact JMM’s Assistant Director/Curator Jarod Kearney at jkearney@umw.edu or GMHS’s Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby at mdolby@umw.edu. 

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Featured in Regional Media

BelmontGari Melchers Home and Studio has frequently been featured in recent editions of The Free Lance-Star as well as a video by the Fredericksburg Visitors Center.

COMMENTARY: Garden Week is canceled, but club’s mission goes on (The Free Lance-Star, April 20, 2020)

Historic homes and museums seek ways to stay connected during coronavirus (The Free Lance-Star, April 26, 2020)

Young Life:  Enjoy online adventures in history and art (The Free Lance-Star, April 9, 2020)

Visit the Fredericksburg Region – Take the Scenic Route video

Gari Melchers Home & Studio Offers Digital Learning for All Ages

Gari Melchers Home & Studio (GMHS) is one of the best-preserved artist homes and working studios in the country. Although it is currently closed to the public in an effort to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is looking for new ways to engage the public.

GMHS is responding to rapidly changing times by compiling existing online material and creating new experiences under their new LEARN webpage found here at garimelchers.org/education/learn, which was featured in a recent Free Lance-Star article.

Included on LEARN are links to Preschool Palette and Picturing New Connection lesson plans, activities based on the museum’s collection, videos, printable coloring pages, popular blog posts, and a virtual tour of the museum’s wedding and reception event space.

Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby, inspired by the global #MuseumfromHome movement, ramped up the museum’s social media presence by sharing posts meant to educate, stimulate, and inspire. Gari Melchers’ many floral still life paintings star in #MuseumBouquet while the artist’s atmospheric paintings star in #MuseumMomentofZen.

Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron practiced proper social distancing while recording her Facebook private studio tour.

“Our mission is founded on preservation and education,” adds Scott Harris, executive director of University of Mary Washington Museums. “During this virus emergency, as we ensure the safety and integrity of our museum and its collections, we’re striving to fulfill our educational mission creatively online.”

Gari and Corinne Melchers lived through another worldwide virus crisis, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. The couple was familiar with quarantines, the wearing of protective gear, social distancing, and other aspects of life during a pandemic we face today. Watch the video.

Follow GMHS on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Young Life: Enjoy online adventures in history and art (fredericksburg.com)

Crow-Dolby Interviewed in Free Lance-Star About Art and History Online Activities

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

Michelle Crow-Dolby, education and communications manager at Gari Melchers Home and Studio, was recently interviewed for The Free Lance-Star Weekender’s Young Life column about how the museum’s popular Preschool Palette program has gone online.


For years, a widely popular offering at Gari Melchers Home and Studio has been its monthly Preschool Palette classes. Designed for ages 2 through 5, the program features age-appropriate studio tours and activities, a walk through the site’s colorful gardens and a process art project in a classroom setting.

“My original goal was to fill a need I saw in the community. At the time, there weren’t a lot of art opportunities for preschool-aged children,” said education and communications manager Michelle Crow–Dolby, who created and launched the program more than 10 years ago.

Families can now duplicate this experience at home using Crow–Dolby’s lesson plans, including links to books, project descriptions and pictures, on the museum’s website and Facebook page. Most recent additions include themes of “Green,” “Mixing Colors” and “All About Rainbows.”

“Green” begins with a visual exploration of Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s book “Green,” with enchanting illustrations highlighting the many shades of green that can be found in nature. Next, become acquainted with several of Melchers’ paintings that use green in various ways. An outdoor scavenger hunt for different shapes of green leaves is followed by creating a sticky collage on contact paper.

“Our museum staff is working hard to embrace the worldwide #MuseumfromHome initiative by providing as many virtual experiences as possible during these unprecedented times,” explains Crow–Dolby. “I’ve been busy creating online activities based on paintings in our collection and hope to add even more in the coming weeks.”

Coloring pages, videos and even a soon-to-be-finished virtual gallery tour are also available. Go to GariMelchers.org and navigate to the newly launched Learn page under the Education tab. Read more.

UMW Chamber Music Festival Marks Third Year at Belmont

U.S. Army Woodwind Quintet

U.S. Army Woodwind Quintet

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the University of Mary Washington Music Department present a Chamber Music Festival on March 14 and 15 in the intimate setting of the Pavilion at Belmont.

The musicians will perform a richly varied program against the backdrop of Belmont, a late eighteenth-century estate picturesquely situated above the Rappahannock River in Falmouth, Virginia.

“Gari Melchers, the famed American who lived and painted here, enjoyed a friendship with the French composer Camille Saint-Saens, and I know he readily would endorse the making of music at his old haunts,” says Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron.

The Festival opens on Saturday evening, March 14 at 7 p.m. with a performance of New American Classics for Wind Quintet performed by the U.S. Army Woodwind Quintet under the direction of MSG Robert Aughtry. The performance will include works by Valerie Coleman, Arne Running, Charles Rochester Young, Lalao Schifrin, and Reena Esmail.

The Sunday, March 15 offering begins at 2 p.m. with an eclectic chamber program featuring works by Hayden, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart and others, performed by the UMW Flute Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble and Woodwind Trio, comprised of faculty, students and guest musicians under the direction of Professors of Music Doug Gately and Bruce Middle.

Admission is free, but seating is limited. Pavilion, Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

Contact: Joanna D. Catron at jcatron@umw.edu or 540-654-1841

Film Screening: Eating Up Easter

Film Screening: Eating Up Easter
Sunday, January 26, 2 p.m.

Eating Up Easter follows a modern indigenous community transforming under the globalizing effects of tourism. Previous films have often sensationalized the “mysteries” of Easter Island’s past, a remote Pacific Island known for its massive stone statues. In contrast, this documentary by native Rapanui filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu provides an intimate look into the passion and creativity his people are harnessing to face the consequences of their rapidly developing island.

Free admission. Pavilion at GMHS,  Snow date Feb. 2
Contact: Michelle Crow-Dolby at mdolby@umw.edu  or 540 654-1851

Belmont Bus Trip to VMFA, Feb. 18

Member’s Bus Trip – Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Va.
February 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join Gari Melchers Home and Studio for a guided tour of the VMFA’s Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, the first in-depth study of hospitality settings depicted in the works of one of the most celebrated American artists. The only east coast venue, this exhibition showcases 65 paintings and works on paper by Hopper. Also included are 35 works by other artists who explored similar themes of hotels, travel, and mobility from the 20th century to the present. The exhibition is presented in galleries that include simulated spaces with engaging design components.

$50 for members, $55 for non-members. Price includes bus transport and tour ticket. Lunch is on your own with a choice of the Best Café or Amuse Restaurant. To make reservations at Amuse call 804-340-1580. Bus departs GMHS at 9 a.m. and returns by 4 p.m. Register by February 1 by contacting Meghan Pcsolyar at mpcsolya@umw.edu or  540-654-1848. Contact Jennifer Pinkerton at jpinkert@umw.edu or call 540-654-1842 to become a member!