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August 15, 2008

Museum interpreter portrays Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin and tells the story of CW's Restoration

“So the Future May Learn from the Past” continues into the fall from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays Sept. 2, 4, 9 and 11. This Bassett Hall program offers insight into one of Colonial Williamsburg’s original Founding Fathers – Dr. William Archer Rutherfoord Goodwin.

Museum interpreter Ed Way portrays the man who gave so much to the Williamsburg community. The program begins with a tour of Basset Hall and includes a conversation with Dr. Goodwin at the tea house on the Bassett Hall grounds. In a custom-tailored blue-and-white seersucker suit, Way portrays Goodwin in 1937. In the later years of his life, Goodwin is semi-retired and reminiscing about his role in the Restoration.

In 1903 Goodwin became rector of Bruton Parish Church. It was during his service here that Goodwin had the vision of restoring Williamsburg to its 18th-century glory. Goodwin left Williamsburg to serve as pastor of St. Paul’s Church in Rochester, N.Y., in 1909. In 1923, Goodwin returned to direct the endowment campaign at the College of William and Mary. In this position he met John D. Rockefeller Jr. and invited Rockefeller to tour the town. In 1926, under the Great Oak at Bassett Hall, Goodwin shared his dream of preserving the town's historic buildings with philanthropist Rockefeller and the restoration began.

Goodwin feared that scores of structures that had figured in the life of the colony and the founding of the nation would soon disappear forever. Rockefeller and Goodwin began a modest project to preserve a few of the more important buildings. Eventually, the work progressed and expanded to include a major portion of the colonial town, encompassing approximately 85 percent of the 18th-century capital's original area.

In the preservation of the setting of Virginia’s 18th-century capital, Rockefeller and Goodwin saw an opportunity to ensure that the courageous ideals of the patriots who helped create the American democratic system live on for future generations.

For more information on Colonial Williamsburg’s Restoration, visit

Bassett Hall was the Williamsburg home of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. Bassett Hall is decorated in the understated style fashionable before World War II and features an eclectic mix of inherited possessions and Asian, English and American antiques, as well as modern easy chairs and beds. The home also reflects Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's interest in folk art, a medium that she was among the first to collect and which is the core of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, Good Neighbor Card or museums ticket provides access to enjoy “So the Future May Learn from the Past.”

Bassett Hall is located at 522 E. Francis St. and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except on Wednesdays.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®,” a dramatic live street theater presentation, is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121