Antiques rule at BRM

The Brandywine River Museum of Art kept a tradition alive with the 47th annual Antiques Show during the Memorial Day weekend. More than 60 antique dealers from along the east coast were on hand, showing their wares to hundreds of museum visitors.

Proceeds from the show go to the Museum Volunteers’ Purchase Fund. While the results — acquiring art — are what the museum is all about, they wouldn’t be possible without the dealers. And dealers say they come because the museum’s volunteer committee is a great group.

"This is the best of a charity antique show," said Bill Schwind, of W.M. Schwind Jr. Antiques from Yarmouth, Maine.

Schwind said that while sales have fluctuated in his seven years showing at the museum, the event remains positive for him.

A variety of antiques are on display during the Memorial Day weekend show.

"The committee is terrific. They really make an effort to make the show special, and the museum itself is a dream."

Another dealer, Lisa McAllister, out of  Clear Spring, Md., also in her seventh year at the BRM show, said the dealers are treated well. And while sales may fluctuate from year to year, coming to Chadds Ford is worth it.

"I normally do good business [and] the more unusual, the esoteric items tend to sell, not typical Americana," she said.

Not all the dealers had to travel far. For Ellie Ayscough, the museum might as well be in her backyard. She lives in Chadds Ford Township. She’s been selling at the Memorial Day weekend event for four years. She, too, has seen fluctuations in sales and said the antique business, in general, is shrinking. However, things that have character and show “personality” still sell.

According to a history of the event, written by Anna B. McCoy, the former wife of Frolic Weymouth,  and Jim Duff, the executive director emeritus of the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, the show began as a "labor of love conceived by people who cared greatly about American decorative arts and who believed that the shows would introduce more of the 1-year-old  museum’s audience to the history and beauty of 18thand 19thcentury furniture, ceramics…and more."

The show was called "The Museum Volunteers’ Antiques Show" from the very beginning, McCoy and Duff wrote, that the importance of the volunteers was crucial. Volunteers helped design the first invitation, they helped promote the show, made flower arrangements.

That first show was in November 1972 and the only one held in the fall. As the event grew, it generated more money for the volunteers’ acquisition fund which, in turn, helped grow the museum’s art collection., including its Howard Pyle collection. In all, the Museum Volunteers’ Purchase Fund has enabled the museum to buy more than 200 pieces of art in those 47 years.


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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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