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May 6, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg Launches Major New American Revolution Website Today

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation introduced a major website today that promises to set new standards for comprehensive materials about the American War of Independence and the Revolutionary era, 1750-1800. Launched on the anniversary of the Fifth Virginia Convention, which would declare the colony's independence, the website features a broad range of descriptive material that builds upon the rich collections of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and showcases the significant role played by Williamsburg in the events leading to American independence. The American Revolution website is available online at

Designed as a standard reference point for students, scholars and the public seeking information about the Revolution, the website connects objects, artifacts, buildings and primary sources to interpretive essays creating a cohesive narrative of the Revolutionary period. The site is organized around four chronological storylines. “Empire & Nations” documents the massive struggle between Britain, France and the Indian nations that laid the groundwork for crisis within the British colonial system. “Roads to Revolution” carries the story through the increasing tension between Britain and its colonies to the severing of ties with Britain in 1776. “War & Upheaval” chronicles the War for Independence and the creation of new republican states. “Continuing Revolutions” narrates the efforts of America’s countrymen to build a government reflective of republican ideals and with the capacity to survive.

“The new website is a direct result of Colonial Williamsburg’s Education for Citizenship initiative,” said project director Jim Horn, vice president for research and historical interpretation and the George and Abby O’Neill director of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library. “It engages guests with the principles that shaped our founding, the hardships endured to win independence, and the continuing struggle of those denied their rights. The Revolution was only a beginning, the start of an experiment in democracy that has continued down to our own times.”

Colonial Williamsburg staff and other renowned colonial scholars developed text and contributed thematic essays. Descriptions and images of objects are woven into the texts to help tell the stories, provide access to the material culture of American history and showcase the roles of Virginia and Williamsburg in the struggle for American independence.

Construction of the new website was made possible by a 2007 Interpreting America’s Historic Places grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) of $341,833 with matching funds provided by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. In addition, the project was also designated an NEH We the People project. The Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha, Wis., also helped support scholarship and website content development devoted to religious history and the American Revolution.

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:
Tom Shrout
(757) 220-7265