Wren Building, College of William and Mary

Williamsburg
VA

Portrait by Artist to Come

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Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1699; fully reconstructed in 1732 after a fire. It is the oldest academic structure still in use in America.

Charles Willson Peale, despite his devotion to the taxonomic and contemplative majesty of the natural world, nevertheless loved novelties and used all sorts of amusements to attract customers to his museum. He eventually resorted to hiring a popular musical performer who played five different instruments simultaneously, using all parts of his body. Following Peale’s death the museum passed into the enterprising hands of P. T. Barnum, becoming part of his traveling circus — a romantic ending for an Enlightenment institution.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)