Founded in 1926, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation maintains the world’s largest American history museum, where visitors can engage in immersive, authentic 18th-century experiences. The historic campus in Williamsburg, Virginia, includes 89 original buildings and more than 500 meticulous re-creations of lost structures, as well as two world-class art museums.
Check out these itinerary stops for the perfect day at Colonial Williamsburg:
Home to seven royal governors and the first two elected governors of the state of Virginia, the Governor’s Palace was built to impress those who visited with displays of authority and wealth. Decorated with brilliant hues from the 18th century and items from Colonial Williamsburg’s extensive collections, the Governor’s Palace is a must-see. Be sure to also spend some time in the magnificent palace gardens.
Walk the halls where the colony of Virginia’s representatives struggled with the British governor over the meaning of American liberty. Learn more about the founding principles of our government and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a new republic.
First Baptist Church and Williamsburg Bray School Sites
All Colonial Williamsburg’s work is grounded in research. The Foundation conducts ongoing historical, architectural, and archaeological research that underpins all exhibitions and programs in its Historic Area, art museums, and digital content. Groups can explore that research at the First Baptist Church and Williamsburg Bray School sites. The First Baptist Church, the first Black church in America, is actively being excavated by archaeologists. Meet the experts and learn more about this important piece of American history. Then, learn more about the Williamsburg Bray School, the oldest extant building dedicated to the education of Black students in the United States. Through ongoing research, the Foundation continues to uncover a fuller picture of life in 18th-century America.
Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is home to two world-class art museums. Located under one roof, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum house extensive collections of British decorative arts and American folk art. Explore one of the newest exhibitions, including “‘I made this…’: The Work of Black American Artists and Artisans” or “Stitched in Time.” The art museums were recently expanded and now display more of the collection than ever before.
In 18th-century America, many individuals contributed to support the American Revolution. At the Public Armoury, you’ll encounter an industrial complex alive with activity. Meet 20th-century artisans practicing 18th-century trades. You’ll see blacksmiths hammering hot iron and the intricate work of tinsmiths, as well as foodways historians preparing authentic 18th-century recipes.
Colonial Williamsburg is also home to Colonial Williamsburg Resorts. Guests can stay steps from the action of the Historic Area at one of five award-winning properties. With options to suit any budget, there’s no better way to experience all that Colonial Williamsburg has to offer.
Additionally, no trip to Colonial Williamsburg is complete without a meal in one of the historic taverns, featuring 18th-century inspired recipes and historic entertainment.
For more information, visit colonialwilliamsburg.org.
Credit: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation