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The Author

John R. WatsonJohn R. Watson’s formal education was in music, and the first half of his career was split between church music and keyboard instrument making. Thirty-two keyboard instruments bear his name, including three in daily use at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation where he has been Conservator of Instruments and Mechanical Arts since 1988 and Associate Curator of Musical Instruments since 2008.

His Publications Fellowship from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation encouraged work on his book, Artifacts in Use: the Paradox of Restoration and the Conservation of Organs (2010).

His recent book Changing Keys: Keyboard Instruments for America, 1700-1830 (Scarecrow Press, 2013) is a descriptive catalog detailing thirty-eight keyboard instruments in the Colonial Williamsburg collection. In 2010, with a grant from the American Musical Instrument Society, he published an online version of Martha Clinkscale’s piano database that has since grown to include 7600 pre-1860 pianos worldwide.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation publishes his blog about the restorative conservation of a 1799 combination organ and piano ("organized piano"). It demonstrates the practical application of principles described in Aritifacts in Use.

Curriculum Vitae

John R. Watson
 210 John Pinckney Lane
 Williamsburg, VA 23185
 (757) 565-8594 office
 Email: email