July 24, 2007
CW issues 2006 Annual Report
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation today released its 2006 annual report detailing the successful introduction of its ambitious, daily interactive street-theater program entitled Revolutionary City, an integral part of the Foundation’s Education for Citizenship initiative emphasizing the fundamental importance of citizen participation in a functioning democracy; the culmination of the record-setting Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg; and the completion of an eight-year, $220 million investment program in facilities, including the eagerly anticipated reopening of the Williamsburg Lodge.
Published as a special issue of the Foundation’s journal, Colonial Williamsburg, the report also highlights Colonial Williamsburg’s activities in support of Jamestown 2007 as a Founding Colony Sponsor, the introduction of digital technology including audio tours for guests in the Historic Area and enhanced educational initiatives that are expanding the Foundation’s national reach.
In 2006, the Foundation’s net assets increased by $93.9 million to $955.5 million. As a result, the balance sheet is healthier than at anytime in the history of the Foundation. The Foundation’s endowment reached a record level of $777.2 million, which was a 9 percent increase over 2005. The endowment produced a net investment return of 15 percent. Admissions increased by 33,000 or 5 percent to 767,000 from 734,000 in 2005, the largest one-year increase since the 1980s.
The Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg concluded in 2006 with $510 million—$10 million more than the goal—raised in support of key initiatives. Gifts during the year to the Colonial Williamsburg Fund were $14 million, an increase of $600,000 or almost 5 percent, and total gifts received were $42 million. The number of donors exceeded 100,000 for the fifth consecutive year.
“Audience development—the ability to connect with and appeal to rising generations—is fundamental to the Foundation,” said Foundation President and Chairman Colin G. Campbell. “In this connection, the success of the Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg and the meaning of that effort are most encouraging. To each person who participated, no matter the size of the gift, my colleagues and I offer our sincere thanks.”
The Foundation had an operating loss of $45.4 million due in part to the continued closure of the Williamsburg Lodge during renovations which negatively impacted occupancy, start-up expenses related to the opening of the new Lodge facilities, investments related to the launch of Revolutionary City, and general revenue pressures affecting historic sites and museums. Total debt increased by $51.8 million to fund Lodge and Spa construction projects and other capital needs. The Williamsburg Lodge Conference Center opened in October 2006 and has already hosted a number of large-scale, prestigious events as a cornerstone of the Foundation’s hospitality operations.
“With regard to the operating deficit, if a quick and sustainable solution were evident, we would already have implemented it. Rather, our investments in new programs and facilities have constituted a comprehensive response to this challenge,” said Campbell. “Fortunately, we continue to maintain a strong balance sheet and we are beginning to see rewards from our determination to offer a meaningful and engaging total experience for 21st-century guests. The Foundation has gone through a challenging but necessary period of transition.”
In addition to the phased reopening of the Williamsburg Lodge Conference Center, the Foundation proudly opened the doors in 2006 to a refurbished Governor’s Palace and also brought its retail operations at the Lodge and The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg back in service with a host of new product offerings.
The Foundation also prepared in 2006 for the imminent openings of the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg.
The Official Guide to America’s Historic Triangle is just one example of what was done in 2006 and before to prepare the Foundation for, and to support, America’s 400th Anniversary. As a Founding Colony Sponsor of the commemoration, Colonial Williamsburg worked closely with anniversary planners and provided, among other things, satellite, sound, video and Internet services for Jamestown Live!, a program moderated by PBS’s Gwen Ifill and webcast to students in 50 states and 13 countries.
“I would like to emphasize how much Colonial Williamsburg has enjoyed and appreciates the role it has been able to play in Jamestown 2007,” said Campbell. “The anniversary activities continue, and we look forward to continuing to attract visitors from far and wide to the Historic Triangle.”
Colonial Williamsburg participated in the voyage of the Godspeed up the East Coast to carry the mission of the Foundation to new audiences, and to spread the news of Historic Triangle plans for the Anniversary. The Foundation also converted its Visitor Center to a regional welcome center for the 2007 commemoration, and prepared to welcome Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, who in 2006 announced plans to visit the Historic Triangle for the first time since Jamestown’s 350th anniversary in 1957.
A major undertaking was the creation of Revolutionary City—the daily, two-hour, managed-access street-theater presentation of Williamsburg before and during the War for Independence. Through direct feedback and an increase in attendance, the Foundation learned that theater presented by trained actor-interpreters—each spent 11 weeks in classroom preparation and study—appeals to both new and returning guests.
Revolutionary City has enabled the Foundation to enhance its impact with guests while remaining faithful to its mission. Colonial Williamsburg made enhancements to other programming with the same goal in mind. These changes have included the addition of youth interpreters to street scenes, instruction in such subjects as 18th-century dance and trades shop apprentice tours—all encouraging direct participation by guests.
Colonial Williamsburg further personalized the experience by offering digital technology in the Historic Area. A grant supported the purchase of portable devices to deliver audio tours that give guests the option of self-paced introductions to Colonial Williamsburg with emphasis on important historical themes.
Collections and Museums
The Foundation prepared in 2006 to open the new Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, which combine the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in one facility. The Museums opened in February of this year.
Together these museums display one of the world’s leading collections of American folk art, first begun by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of Colonial Williamsburg founder John D. Rockefeller Jr., and British-American decorative arts dating from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries. The varied exhibits and diverse collections of the two museums complement each other in a way that tells a rich story of the American people during the nation’s formative years. The museums also offer a full slate of programs and dedicated spaces appealing particularly to children and families.
Productions, Publications and Learning Ventures
In 2006, Colonial Williamsburg was transported to more classrooms than ever before. In partnership with textbook publisher Pearson Scott Foresman, the Foundation placed a series of next-generation textbooks, electronic media, and active-learning strategies in 50 percent of the California elementary school system, the nation’s largest. The Foundation’s seven Electronic Field Trips, telecast and Internet streamed, reached more than five million students in states across the country.
The Foundation’s formal instructional effort, the Teacher Institute, graduated 500 teachers and attracted 912 more to off-site workshops and videoconferences. Additionally, a special week-long program dedicated to home educators attracted more than 3,300 participants. Colonial Williamsburg’s Web sites generated more than 15 million visits from people of all ages in 2006. Visitors to the site might have listened to one of 52 image-enhanced podcasts or learned about the Foundation's newly produced CDs and publications. The Foundation’s Digital History Center and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia began developing three-dimensional models of 18th-century Williamsburg for research and exploration.
In connection with the phased completion of the Williamsburg Lodge, the Foundation opened the Nicholas and Tyler guesthouses, as well as the 45,000-square-foot conference center. Colonial Williamsburg saw significant demand for its new conference facilities, and many business organizations held events immediately following the opening in October.
The Foundation prepared in 2006 for the opening of The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg, which offers relaxing, rejuvenating, and healing therapies inspired by five centuries of wellness practices in an all-new setting in the renovated former home of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.
The Williamsburg Inn again made Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Gold List, and Travel & Leisure magazine’s roster of 500 Great Hotels in the World. The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club’s Gold and Green Courses earned recognition in Zagat’s survey of America’s Top Golf Courses, as well as the Condé Nast Traveler 2006 “Reader’s Pick: Top 100 Golf Resorts in the World” annual survey.
Products sales via WilliamsburgMarketplace.com grew by 20 percent in 2006. Sales through the Web now account for 42 percent of all direct marketing revenue. The reopening of the Lodge gift shop, as well as the Museum Store at the DeWitt Wallace site, brought all of the Foundation’s retail outlets back on line. New Colonial Williamsburg-produced products for sale included the CDs From Ear to Ear, Fourth of July, and Storytelling Festival 2006, and the books 1607: Jamestown and the New World and the aforementioned Official Guide to America’s Historic Triangle.
Eight manufacturers joined the Foundation’s reproductions program as licensees in 2006: Campania, for garden products; Ellery, for bedding and window treatments; Hudson Valley Lighting, for interior fixtures; Reed & Barton, for stainless and sterling flatware and gifts; Sedgefield by Adams, for brass lighting and giftware; SPI, for garden products; Troy-CSL, for exterior lighting fixtures; and Windham, for quilt fabric.
The board of trustees elected to their number Thomas F. Farrell II of Richmond, Va., chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Dominion Resources; Judith A. McHale of Bethesda, Md., immediate past president and CEO of Discovery Communications Inc.; Barbara Bowen Oberg of Princeton, NJ., professor and lecturer in the department of history at Princeton University, where she is general editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson; and Henry C. Wolf of Norfolk, Va., immediate past vice chairman and chief financial officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation. Norman R. Augustine of Potomac, Md., Marshall N. Carter of Cambridge, Mass., and Richard D. Roberts of Virginia Beach, Va., completed their board service after a combined 22 years as trustees.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 2006 Annual Report is available online at http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/Foundation/Annualrpt06/index.cfm
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. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at www.ColonialWilliamsburg.com.