Seeing Virginia History thru Colonial Portraits

Join Colonial Virginia Portraits creator Janine Yorimoto Boldt, the Omohundro Institute, and Virginia Museum of History & Culture curators William Rasmussen and Karen Sherry for a discussion of family portraiture in Virginia during the colonial era.

Using pieces from the museum’s collections that originally hung in wealthy Virginia homes, the three historians will discuss what the paintings reveal about the people who sat for them, commissioned them, painted them, kept them, and displayed them.

Dr. Janine Yorimoto Boldt is the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum where she curated the exhibition Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist. She is the researcher behind Colonial Virginia Portraits, a digital project produced in collaboration with the Omohundro Institute. Her current book project is The Politics of Portraiture in Colonial Virginia, which examines how colonists mobilized portraiture to shape social relationships and imagine empire.

Dr. William M. S. Rasmussen is a curator specializing in American art and architecture with a focus on Virginia history. He has over 40 years of museum experience. He is the senior curator and Lora M. Robins Curator of Art at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (Virginia Historical Society) and the author of numerous books and articles including, most recently, The Story of Virginia, Highlights from the Virginia Museum of History & Culture with Jamie O. Bosket.

Dr. Karen Sherry is a curator specializing in American history and material culture with 20 years of museum experience. Since 2017, she has served as a curator at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (Virginia Historical Society), where she organized the exhibitions Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality and Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today. Previously, she held curatorial positions at the Portland Museum of Art (Maine, 2012–2015) and Brooklyn Museum (2005–2012). Sherry has published, lectured, and organized exhibitions on a range of topics related to American history and culture. She has also received numerous fellowships and grants, including from the National Endowment for the Arts, Luce Foundation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Smithsonian Institution. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in art history from the University of Delaware, and a B.A. from Boston University.