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October 16, 2007

National Endowment for the Humanities grants enable CW to create map-based Internet research tool

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is developing eWilliamsburg, a map-based Internet research tool thanks to two generous grants totaling $614,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The initial $339,000 grant for Phase I of the project funded an interactive map for accessing the Foundation’s more than 700 research reports detailing projects from the late 1920s to the present. These digital documents record the restorations and reconstructions in the Historic Area, provide the substance for interpretive programs and provide a significant body of materials to scholars interested in studying the role of towns in early American society, the colonial economy and the events that led to American independence. In the eWilliamsburg map interface, users can click directly on specific buildings to access all of the materials related to each property. Phase I began in 2003 and ended in 2005.

eWilliamsburg can be accessed online at Clicking on the Peyton Randolph House, for example, will yield:

  • a brief description of the property;
  • archaeological surveys and excavation reports;
  • architectural reports, including paint analyses; and
  • historical reports on the house and property.

    A subsequent $275,000 grant has been awarded by NEH for eWilliamsburg’s second phase. Historical, archaeological and architectural information will be integrated into an interactive map that will enable researchers to examine how the town changed during the course of the 18th century and to learn about the colonial residents associated with each property. The second phase, which began in July 2007, will be completed in June 2009.

    Phase II of eWilliamsburg has been designated an NEH “We the People” project which encourages and strengthens the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture through the support of projects that explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture, and that advance the knowledge of the principles that define America.

    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 – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. 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 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., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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