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March 11, 2003

Sow the Seeds of Revolution, Experience "America. Chapter 1" with Colonial Williamsburg's New 2003 Season

Vacation in a town that changed the world. Meet the men and women who helped bring a nation into being. Make a 2003 trip to Colonial Williamsburg, the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia.

This year guests of Colonial Williamsburg will experience the energy and passion of “America. Chapter 1” with dynamic programs and family activities that transport young and old alike back in time to one of the most important settings in colonial America. Beginning March 15, new programs, facilities and offerings will ensure a fun and inspiring vacation that first-time and returning guests will never forget.

Highlights for 2003 include:

  • Increased hands-on activities & family programs
  • Expanded 301-acre Historic Area
  • New African-American interpretive programs
  • New Native American interpretive programs
  • Renovated Bassett Hall
  • New museums exhibitions
  • Special and seasonal programs

    Increased Hands-On Activities & Family Programs

    Colonial Williamsburg in 2003 invites people to experience the town where “the idea of America” first took root in Virginia soil. This year, for the first time, Colonial Williamsburg costumed trades people at nearly 20 sites throughout the Historic Area invite guests to assist them in their 18th-century trades, whether shoemaking, basket weaving or silversmithing. In addition, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other Founding Fathers will engage guests with compelling discourse on such diverse topics as democracy, slavery, fashion, marriage and the “Mother Country” (England).

    The popular Fifes and Drums, Colonial Williamsburg’s musical ambassadors, will have an expanded presence in 2003, appearing regularly throughout the Historic Area in such programs as daily marches, the Art of Fifing and Drumming, a 20-30 minute program that interprets the daily duties of the musicians, and Military Music on Market Square, where guests will learn about the music and marching associated with one of Colonial Williamsburg’s most beloved programs.

    Reinforcing Colonial Williamsburg’s mission, “that the future may learn from the past,” a 50 percent increase in family and children’s programs in 2003 ensures that young guests have more opportunities to see, touch, smell and hear about the 18th century as they participate in colonial activities such as making stitch books, playing hoops and mastering the ever-popular bilbo catcher, a colonial ball-and-cup game of skill. Guests will be invited to tread mud with the brick makers, polish silver with the silversmiths or inspect the finish on fine furniture at the Cabinetmaker Shop. Families are sure to enjoy tours of the coach and livestock stables where they will learn about the foundation’s award-winning Rare Breeds animal program. At the Benjamin Powell House, families will have the opportunity to participate in the daily activities of a successful 18th-century builder and his household.

    Evening programs continue to complement daytime activities through such offerings as the popular “Cry Witch,” in which guests are invited to take part in the re-creation of the dramatic trial of accused witch Grace Sherwood. In “Colonial Kids on Parade,” guests will enjoy learning the history of Williamsburg through the eyes of its children, who take guests from the earliest days of the town’s history through the American Revolution. In “Papa Said; Mama Said,” guests will journey back in time to learn how 18th-century enslaved Africans and their descendants created an oral culture through storytelling. “Remember Me When Freedom Comes” takes place through the eyes of an enslaved man and his slave quarter community who tell the story of the quest for freedom.

    Expanded Historic Area

    Ticketed guests walking to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area from the enlarged and updated Visitor Center cross a new “Bridge to the Past” that transports them from their 21st-century world back to 1774. As guests begin this journey, they will encounter costumed interpreters and trades people at the new Great Hopes site, part of Colonial Williamsburg’s recently expanded 301-acre Historic Area, which captures the essence of rural colonial Virginia. Here, guests discover how most 18th-century Virginians lived, what they ate and what they grew, as they see whites and slaves working together in agricultural activities that helped sustain Williamsburg residents.

    African-American, Native American Interpretive Programs

    Once in the Historic Area, guests quickly become aware of the significance of this 18th-century city on the eve of the American Revolution when they learn how Virginians of all social, political and economic means forged a nation and demanded independence from England.

    Activities at the Peyton Randolph House site, home of the first president of the Continental Congress, reach new heights this year as provocative and compelling African-American programs take residence in the recently reconstructed Randolph kitchen.

    From the Governor’s Palace to the Capitol, guests become acquainted with “people of the past” and other costumed residents who are eager to share the news of the day, including such notables as America’s “first” first lady, Martha Washington, Peyton Randolph, president of the first Continental Congress, and -- equally important -- enslaved Virginians and working-class whites. Also this year, activities in the Historic Area acquaint guests with the Native American experience in Williamsburg through Colonial Williamsburg’s first initiatives in many years to address this important chapter in our nation’s history.

    Bassett Hall

    Guests to Colonial Williamsburg in 2003 have the opportunity to explore the remarkable story of the town’s restoration, through personal tours of Bassett Hall, the restored Williamsburg home of Colonial Williamsburg benefactor John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The historic home and adjacent visitor center recently re-opened after a comprehensive two-year renovation.

    Museums Exhibitions

    Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, which houses the foundation’s renowned collection of English and American decorative arts, will offer several new exhibitions in 2003. They include “The Language of Clothing,” through Feb. 16, 2004, one of the most comprehensive exhibitions ever assembled of antique clothing, and “Pewter at Colonial Williamsburg,” through Feb. 5, 2005, showcasing more than 250 of the best examples of British and American Pewter from Colonial Williamsburg’s preeminent collection of the “metal of choice” for 17th- and 18th-century Americans.

    At the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the oldest institution in the United States dedicated solely to the collection and preservation of American folk art, guests will enjoy the new “Lions & Eagles & Bulls: Early American Tavern and Inn Signs,” Nov. 8, 2003 through Sept. 6, 2004. “Holiday Favorites,” Nov. 28, 2003 through Jan. 3, 2004, will showcase the museum’s extensive collection of antique toys, the famous Long Island and Rumford dollhouses, plus the fabulous Tasha Tudor dollhouse filled with dolls and accessories collected by the beloved children’s illustrator.

    Special Programs & Tickets

    Colonial Williamsburg guests can look forward to special “multi-day events” throughout the year, including Women’s History Weekend activities in March, gardening activities in April and two special military re-enactor weekends, “Under the Redcoat: Lord Cornwallis Occupies Williamsburg,” June 27-29, and “Prelude to Victory: Washington Prepares for Yorktown,” Aug. 30-31. Other programs will take place in conjunction with Memorial Day weekend (May 26), Fourth of July weekend and the Christmas holidays. In addition, Colonial Williamsburg will participate in two significant area cultural events in 2003. Colonial Williamsburg will be one of several hosts of the final weekend of the Virginia Arts Festival, Festival Williamsburg, over Memorial Day weekend with special events and programs May 23-25. And, in conjunction with the Virginia Symphony’s Seventh Annual Beethoven Festival, Colonial Williamsburg will again host a classical music concert over Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

    Admission Tickets & Hotels and Taverns

    Also new in 2003 are special offerings exclusive to guests of Colonial Williamsburg’s hotels, all located in or directly adjacent to the Historic Area. For the first time, breakfast is included for all Colonial Williamsburg leisure vacation hotel guests. The Hotel Guest Pass – new for 2003 and available only to guests staying at the Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, Colonial Houses – Historic Lodging, Woodlands Hotel & Suites, or Governor’s Inn – provides a specially discounted admissions ticket ($29 adult, $15 youth 6-14) good for the entire length of stay, with access to all museums and regular programs and offering a 50 percent discount on evening programs.

    Additionally, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Dining Taverns will introduce new menus with enhanced service and entertainment in 2003.

    Colonial Williamsburg’s 2003 General Admission ticket valid for one day is $37 for adults, $18.50 for youth 6-14 and free for children under 6. Guests may add a second consecutive day to the General Admission ticket for $3 adults and $1.50 per youth. The yearlong Freedom Pass is $49 for adults, $24.50 for youth 6-14 and free for children under 6. The Freedom Pass includes a 50 percent discount on evening programs, except during the Christmas season.

    Known worldwide as the nation’s largest living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a not-for-profit educational institution that receives no regular state or federal funding. For information and reservations, call toll-free (800) HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

    Media Contact:
    Tim Andrews
    (757) 220-7265

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