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February 28, 2005

CW invites 21st-century guests to "Connect with their inner 18th century" in 2005

Do you have a secret desire to rule your own colony, take a stand against tyranny, or start a new nation? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to discuss independence with Patrick Henry, diplomacy with Thomas Jefferson or freedom with a slave? What did kids do before fast food, computers and the Internet?

In 2005, Colonial Williamsburg guests will discover the answers to these questions, and more, as they connect with their “colonial me” by visiting the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia. New seasonal programs, engaging museum exhibitions and enhanced dining options provide more reasons than ever for guests to step back in time this year to engage with their past and enlighten their future. Colonial Williamsburg’s new 2005 offerings include:

  • Programs in the 301-acre Historic Area that will span a significantly longer period, 1773 through 1776, with each season representing a different year.
  • An expanded schedule of themed programs and featured events that includes new weekend activities and a new storytelling festival in the fall.
  • New, comprehensive, hands-on interpretation at the 18th-century urban plantation behind the Peyton Randolph House, home of one of Virginia’s wealthiest lawmakers.
  • Two new buildings that will debut at Great Hopes rural plantation, Colonial Williamsburg’s newest interpretive site, near the recently-renovated Visitor Center.
  • A new, family-friendly experience at Shields Tavern, which now will operate in the spirit of an 18th-century coffeehouse, with interpretive programs and expanded hours.
  • And, a major exhibition at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring one of history’s most famous copies of the Declaration of Independence.

    Enhanced guest experience, new programs in 2005

    In 2005, Colonial Williamsburg engages all of the senses as the restored town bustles with activity just the way Williamsburg did in the 1770s. From the clang of a blacksmith’s anvil to the beat of the Fifes and Drums, the city is alive with the sights and sounds of America’s formative days. New seasonal programming spans the years 1773 through 1776 and focuses on events that happened just prior to the Revolution, such as spring’s “The Revolution Begins,” set shortly after the Boston Tea Party; summer’s “The World Turned Upside Down,” set in 1776 at the time of the Continental Congress; and fall’s “The Sword is Drawn,” where the path to war becomes clear. Guests will discover how all of this affected Williamsburg then – residents, slaves, homes and taverns--and what it means to our lives today.

    At Peyton Randolph’s near-complete urban plantation -- a Colonial Williamsburg project 40 years in the making -- guests will experience a restored home and 18th-century domestic estate that is exceeded in size and scope only by the Governor’s Palace. Guests of the Peyton Randolph site will engage a vibrant, hands-on experience centered on the compelling story of the president of the First and Second Continental Congress, his wife and their 27 slaves.

    At Great Hopes Plantation, Colonial Williamsburg’s newest interpretive site, guests will experience an entirely different setting, a modest rural plantation that reflects the way people of “middling” means, black and white, free and enslaved, lived and farmed. A new slave house opens at Great Hopes in the spring, with a tobacco barn set to open in the fall. Guests will learn the art of planting crops, turning soil, splitting wood and cooking over a fire.

    New and expanded monthly events provide 2005 guests with more activities and family programs than ever. These range from Women’s History Month programs in March, including “A Family Reunited: The Arrival of Lady Dunmore,” March 18-20, to the popular “Under the Redcoat: Lord Cornwallis Occupies Williamsburg,” June 24-26. Other special events include the re-created “Gunpowder Incident,” April 18-24, when British marines stole the colonists’ gunpowder from Williamsburg’s magazine, a pivotal moment on Virginia’s road to independence. A major highlight is a new Colonial Williamsburg storytelling festival, September 16-18, showcasing some of the nation’s finest speakers telling stories that span the centuries.

    As the sun sets during these different seasons of the year, Colonial Williamsburg will transform from a bustling 18th-century town to a venue for evening enchantment and candlelit entertainment. Period concerts, plays, tours and dances entice guests to be transported back more than two centuries and immerse themselves in Williamsburg’s 18th-century nightlife.

    Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area in 2005 boasts a convenient and comfortable new place to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, cool drink, light fare or shelter from the elements. Shields Tavern, one of Colonial Williamsburg’s four authentic colonial taverns, takes on the spirit of an 18th-century coffeehouse this year, with flexible operating hours inviting guests to drop by for quick, casual refreshment or a delectable desert all day long, from early morning until late evening. New interpretive programs in the tavern will tie to the archaeological dig taking place across the street from Shields, on the site of an actual 18th-century coffee house.

    Visit a Colonial Williamsburg Museum

    Colonial Williamsburg offers museum-goers in 2005 an opportunity to connect with some of the most important people, and documents, in America’s history, beginning with the May debut of the “Principles of Freedom” exhibition at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.
    Running from May 7, 2005, to February 2006, the exhibition features a rare 1823 “Stone” copy of the Declaration of Independence, one of just 31 such original facsimiles of the Declaration known to exist. The “Principles of Freedom” exhibition also features examples of signatures from several of the signers of the Declaration, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

    Also in 2005, the Wallace Museum presents “Treasures from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum,” an exhibition of more than 100 of the most visually appealing and historically important objects from Colonial Williamsburg’s folk art collection. On display from April 16, 2005 through December 2006, “Treasures” will delight guests while the new Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, due to open in October 2006, is under construction adjacent to the Wallace Museum.

    Flexible Admissions and Lodging Options

    Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of tickets in which all children under age 6 are admitted free and parking at the Visitor Center also is free. Colonial Williamsburg’s five distinctive hotels -- including the historic Williamsburg Inn, the family-friendly Woodlands Hotel & Suites and the authentic, 18th-century Colonial Houses--offer guests the best ticket opportunity in town: the Colonial Williamsburg Hotel Guest Pass provides discounted admission for the entire length of the guest’s stay, plus 50 percent off evening performances.

    There’s Never Been a Better Time to Rediscover America!

    In 2005, guests of all ages are invited to Colonial Williamsburg to experience the first chapter of the nation’s history by connecting with some of America’s most important events and prominent citizens. A visit to Colonial Williamsburg opens guests’ understanding to the relevance in their lives today of the ideals and values that took root in Virginia’s colonial capital two centuries ago. From historical re-enactments and museums, to shopping, dining, golf and onsite lodging options, Colonial Williamsburg offers an incomparable vacation opportunity in 2005.

    Media Contact:
    Tim Andrews
    (757) 220-7265



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