King and Queen Museum Opens Exhibit on March 25th of Renowned Ivor Noël Hume Personal Bottle Collection dating from 1650 to 1976. (March 2012)

The King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum opens its exhibit of the Renowned Ivor Noël Hume Bottle Collection on March 25th. Respected archeologist and writer Ivor Noël Hume, retired "antiquarian" from Colonial Williamsburg, assembled a personal collection of some sixty bottles. He started collecting when examining archaeological digs in London that showed remains from the time of the Romans through the time of the great London Fire of 1666 at different levels of an archaeological dig. Bottles, even broken bottle pieces, could help him to date the layers of materials found in his digs. He says the bottles also tell stories of the people during each time period. For example, he explains, a bottle with the seal of the Sun Tavern in London when Samuel Pepys visited the tavern opens up a whole period of history.

Frank and Barbara Hurst, owners of Newington Plantation in King and Queen County, the birthplace of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, became interested in some of the same issues when he undertook an archaeological dig in connection with the remains of an old stone building located at Newington which has been dated to 1724. Because of his interest Hurst ended up meeting Noël Hume. When Hurst learned that Noël Hume was in the process of selling his collection, Hurst purchased it and has brought it intact to the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum for this exhibition. The exhibit also includes (1) Noël Hume's own written comments on the significance of each bottle, (2) a video presentation Noël Hume specially filmed at the King and Queen Museum for this exhibit, and (3) items found at Newington, including a bowl dating to 1720-1740 made by early Virginia potter, William Rogers, and a stone from the stone building dated 1724/3- with the initials GBI (for George Braxton 1, Carter Braxton's grandfather).

One expert, recently commenting on Noël Hume's collection, stated: "This is assuredly an assemble of objects demonstrating that enthusiasm for collecting can extend far beyond the Magpie instinct for mere acquisition. It is not simply a pile of random historic bones. It is the work of an expert anatomist who has constructed from it a cohesive skeleton and then provided the DNA that fleshed it out in ways that both inform and animate our history. To have dispersed it would have destroyed an important historical integrity. Ivor Noël Hume reports that the entire collection, along with its detailed history, is now in safe hands."

Jack Spain, Chairman of the King and Queen Museum Council, said the Museum was especially honored to be chosen for the first pubic exhibition of this collection.

Frank Hurst will speak at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 25th, at the grand opening of the exhibit. He will recount how he became interested, how he met Noël Hume, and generally introduce the new exhibit. The public is invited.