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February 11, 2011

Historic Trades Blacksmiths Move This Weekend to Temporary Quarters To Allow Next Steps in Rebuilding Wartime Williamsburg Industrial Complex

The blacksmiths of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic trades move their operations temporarily to the Elkanah Deane Shop this weekend to allow construction of a new armoury building at the James Anderson Armoury site, the Historic Area’s newest reconstruction project. The Deane Shop is located in the Historic Area near Palace Green on Prince George Street. A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket is required.

The blacksmith shop at the Anderson site will close at the end of the day Saturday, Feb. 12. The blacksmiths will re-open at the Deane Shop Tuesday, Feb. 15. Two historic trades — the wheelwrights and blacksmiths — will share the Deane Shop for approximately one year until construction of a new armoury building is complete in the spring of 2012. Completion of the entire armoury project is expected in 2013.

The James Anderson site will close to the public Sunday, Feb. 13 to allow the next steps involved in the project: demolition of the current blacksmith shop and construction of the armoury; construction of a workshop, two small storage buildings and a privy; continued archaeology of the site; and completion of the new kitchen building. The site will open after preliminary and preparation work at the site is complete so that guests may observe the archaeology and historic trades work on the new construction.

Guests may see historic trades carpenters and joiners preparing materials for the Anderson project at Great Hopes Plantation and the joinery near the Capitol. A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket is required.

When complete, the Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury project will depict Williamsburg’s leading role in the American Revolution — when former royal subjects took on new freedoms and responsibilities as self-governing citizens of an independent republic. The site will reflect the complexity and urgency of mounting a war effort against the world’s most powerful 18th-century nation. A $4.5 million gift from Forrest E. Mars Jr. is enabling the reconstruction and endowment of one of wartime Williamsburg’s most important industrial sites. James Anderson was appointed public armourer in 1776 by the General Assembly of the newly independent Commonwealth of Virginia. In the immediate wake of his appointment, Anderson began to enlarge his small, commercial blacksmithing operation into an extensive and diverse public manufactory.

Follow progress at the Anderson site online at and

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

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. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281