The Merry Outlaw Curatorial and Conservation Fund was established in 2019 by Williamsburg residents and Foundation trustees, Pam and Jim Penny, to support Jamestown’s vital curatorial and conservation efforts. Senior Curator Merry Outlaw joined the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation in 2011 and is one of the foremost experts on 17th-century material culture. She worked as an editor for the acclaimed publication, Ceramics in America, for ten years and continues to serve as a cultural resource consultant for various archaeological organizations nationwide. The Pennys and Ms. Outlaw first met at an antique store in Yorktown, Virginia and have been longtime friends ever since. They share a love of history and ceramics and are all active members of The Antique Collectors’ Guild, based in Williamsburg, Virginia.
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Since excavations at Jamestown began in 1994, more than four million artifacts have been unearthed on site. These items, such as tools, arms and armor, trade goods, religious objects, and food remains, represent thousands of years of life at Jamestown Island and provide a deeper understanding of our shared past. “It is our ethical responsibility to care for the millions of priceless artifacts in our collection,” shared Ms. Outlaw, “and wonderful support like this helps make that possible. I am deeply humbled by this special honor.”
The Merry Outlaw Curatorial and Conservation Fund directly supports the sustained care of Jamestown’s collection. Thanks to the generosity of the “Outlaw Fund” contributors, Jamestown’s collections and curatorial staff are able to purchase necessary equipment and tools for use in the laboratory, conduct important faunal and material culture research, pursue relevant professional development opportunities, maintain the ever-growing Reference Collection, and so much more.
Additionally, this special fund will enable Senior Curator Merry Outlaw to research and write about the extensive ceramic assemblage recovered from James Fort in a new publication. The collection includes hundreds of ceramic vessels from the world over, including the British Isles, Continental Europe, China, and Turkey. Material culture specialists, historical archaeologists, curators, students, and all scholars of the 17th century will soon have the pleasure of reading about Ms. Outlaw’s invaluable work on this priceless collection.