Virginia’s Colonial Mansions

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Media Contact: Jim Schepmoes
804-493-8038 ext. 8119

For Immediate Release

STRATFORD, VA, (October 9, 2008) – Stratford Hall, in cooperation with the Menokin Foundation and the University of Mary Washington, will present a symposium entitled “Cultural Landscapes of the Northern Neck: Virginia’s Colonial Mansions.” The three day symposium will run from October 23 through October 25, 2008.

During the eighteenth century, Virginia was the largest as well as the richest of Great Britain’s colonies in North America. Furthermore, some of Virginia’s richest and most powerful planters lived in the Northern Neck. Thus it is no coincidence that the grand houses they built on commanding sites during the eighteenth century figure among the most arresting features of the Northern Neck’s cultural landscape. The focus of this symposium is the culture created and manifested by these colonial mansions: what sorts of decisions determined their design and construction; how their owners organized them as households; whom they were intended to nurture, welcome, or impress. We invite you to join us as we explore the society, politics, and economy of the early Northern Neck through these remarkable buildings – some of Virginia’s finest.

Highlights of the symposium will include lectures by scholars respected for their expertise in colonial Virginia’s history and material culture; private visits to a series of Northern Neck mansions, most of which are rarely open to the public; a special tour of the Stratford mansion with behind-the-scenes privileges; Lodging and dining in the pastoral setting of Stratford Hall and evening receptions at Stratford Hall’s historic Council House and Menokin’s Restoration Facility and Visitors Center.

This symposium is intended for those who are entirely new to the study of cultural landscapes and architectural history. However, those who already enjoy knowledge of Virginia’s early history and material life will encounter exciting ways of thinking about these topics anew.

Faculty for this symposium will include:

Carter L. Hudgins is Hofer Distinguished Professor of Early American Culture and Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington. He received his B.A. from the University of Richmond, his M.A. from Wake Forest University, and his Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary. With training in both history and archaeology, Dr. Hudgins has directed archaeological projects in Virginia, North Carolina, and Ireland. He also has completed architectural historical studies in Alabama and Virginia. Before accepting his current position at Mary Washington, Dr. Hudgins was Executive Director of Historic Charleston Foundation.

Kenneth M, McFarland is Director of Education at Stratford Hall. He earned his B.A. at Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before accepting his current position at Stratford in 2000, Mr. McFarland worked as an architectural historian for the North Carolina Department of Transportation and as historic properties manager for the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The author of numerous scholarly articles on historic landscapes, Mr. McFarland also has written The Architecture of Warren County, North Carolina,1770s-1860s.

Douglas W. Sanford is chair of the Department of Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington where he also headed the Professional Archaeology Program. Sanford completed his undergraduate work at the College of William and Mary. He received an M.A. in the American Civilization Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and he completed his graduate education with a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Virginia. Before accepting his current position Sanford was Director of Archaeology for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. His most recent scholarly research centers on slave housing in the southeastern United States.

Camille Wells, Faculty Director, teaches in the History Department at the College of William and Mary, where she received her Ph.D. She also earned an M.A. degree in architectural history from the University of Virginia, where she taught until 2002. She has worked as an architectural historian for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, as well as for the state historic preservation offices of Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia. Her research and published essays focus on the architecture of colonial and early national Virginia.

Registration is limited to 44 participants. The cost for this program is $800 per person in a double room (mutual requests only) or $900 in a single room. This fee includes three nights lodging in Stratford Hall’s Guest Houses, a buffet-style breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, a box lunch on Friday and Saturday, and a gourmet dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

There is also an option for those who live nearby and choose to commute from home. The cost of joining us for the lectures, tours, and mid-day meals as well as the opening reception and first-night dinner is $400.

For more information about the symposium, contact Program Director Ken McFarland at or call 804-493-8038 ext. 1558.