The Stars of the Williamstown Theatre Festival Read the Declaration of Independence and the British Reply at WCMA July 4

For immediate release: June 25, 2013

Robert Sean Leonard, Paxton Whitehead, Heather Lind

The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) and the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) invite you to get your red, white and blue on and celebrate Independence Day in Williamstown, Mass.

The day kicks off with the Spring Street Parade at 11:00 a.m. followed by a barbeque. At 2:00 p.m. WCMA will host the reading of the Declaration of Independence and the British reply by WTF actors Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poets Society), Paxton Whitehead (The Importance of Being Earnest), and Heather Lind (HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”). All three actors will be featured in the upcoming WTF production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, directed by Nicholas Martin. WCMA will be open for this special event from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Robert Volz, the Custodian of the Chapin Library, will be available in the museum after the reading to answer questions about the Founding Documents. Admission is free and families are encouraged to attend. The event will take place rain or shine. The festivities continue at WTF where curtain times for the Marx Brothers’ musical Animal Crackers and the world premiere of American Hero have been moved to 4:00 p.m. Enjoy a show and then head to North Adams for a baseball game and fireworks at Joe Wolfe Stadium.

WCMA is the temporary home of Williams College’s collection of documents relating to the founding of the United States of America. Normally on display in the Chapin Rare Book Library, the collection includes extremely rare copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States as well as important copies of the Articles of Confederation, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist, among others. These documents are on view at WCMA during the college’s renovation of the Chapin Library, scheduled to open in August of 2014.

WCMA Summer Programs

Step Behind the Scenes
Getting to Know a New Acquisition
Tuesday—Friday, June 18—July 19
Drop in from 1–3 pm
Step behind the scenes with us as we get to know the newest addition to our collection: Joan Mitchell’s Sunflower VI.  Join staff in our study storage space as we contemplate and wonder. Each week, we’ll pair the painting with other works in our collection to see what new ideas emerge.

Spotlight Gallery Talks
Saturdays in July & August, 2–2:30 pm
We turn the spotlight on a single object. Relish the details of a sculpture, print, or painting, and delve into its many meanings.

The Founding Documents Come to Life
Thursday, July 4, 2 pm
Gather on our patio as WTF actors read aloud the Declaration of Independence and the British reply. Visit the galleries from 1–4 pm for an up-close look at the documents themselves.

WTF Actors Animate the Galleries
Thursday, July 25 and August 8, 4 pm
See what happens when WTF actors mine Now Dig This! for inspiration, and animate the galleries with an artful performance.

The Debate Society Social
Thursday, August 15, 5:30 pm
Join the Debate Society, creators of the 1950s suburban thriller Blood Play, for show-inspired drinks (Rapupu Sours anyone?) and hors d’oeuvres (care for some Herring Apple-d-lite?). Stick around for an interactive discussion and lively demonstration of the process they use to create the detailed environments and invented histories of their plays.

Now Dig This! Opening Day
Saturday, July 20, 2 pm
Get a first glimpse of Now Dig This! with Kellie Jones, exhibition curator and associate professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.

Art & Aperitif Alfresco
Thursday Evenings
July 11—August 29, 4–8 pm
Come for an art fix, stay for an aperitif. Catch a talk or performance, then gather on our patio to further muse or take in the views. Outdoor programs will be held weather permitting. Check for event updates.

July 11, 4 pm
Take a short stroll on campus for a look at several public artworks.

Jul 18, 4 pm
Go behind the scenes to find out how Super Soakers fueled a conversation about Indian art.

July 25, 4 pm
Watch WTF actors animate the galleries with a performance inspired by Now Dig This!

August 1, 4 pm
Peruse the galleries with Class of 1956 Director Christina Olsen. Get a close look at the collection through her eyes.

August 8, 4 pm
They’re at it again! Watch WTF actors animate the galleries with their performance inspired by Now Dig This!

August 15, 5:30 pm
Join the actors of the Debate Society for a lively demonstration of their creative process and a cocktail inspired by the 1950’s suburban thriller Blood Play.

August 22, 4 pm
Hear from curator Kathryn Price in the exhibition 72 Degrees about new discoveries of works by LA Artists in the WCMA collection.

August 29, 4 pm
Peek behind the scenes at prints freshly pulled from storage.

Williams College Museum of Art

The Williams College Museum of Art is located on Main Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. From July 20 through Labor Day the museum will be open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum is wheelchair accessible and open to the public. Admission is FREE. For more information, contact the museum at (413) 597-2429 or visit

Williamstown Theatre Festival

Tickets for Animal Crackers, American Hero and all 2013 Williamstown Theatre Festival productions can be purchased online at, by phone at 413-597-3400, or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167. Since 1955, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought America’s finest actors, directors, designers, and playwrights to the Berkshires, engaging a loyal audience of both residents and summer visitors. Each WTF season is designed to present unique opportunities for artists and audience alike, revisiting classic plays with innovative productions, developing and nurturing bold new plays and musicals, and offering a rich array of accompanying cultural events including Free Theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, readings, workshops, and educational programs. While best known for our acclaimed productions, WTF is also home to one of the nation’s top training and professional development programs for new generations of aspiring theatre artists and administrators. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Jenny Gersten, WTF was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2002 and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement in 2011.