Since the early days of the Restoration, the sound of hooves and carriages has been synonymous with Colonial Williamsburg. The Coach and Livestock department cares for more than 150 animals housed in 85 acres of pasture. These animals, many of which are rare and endangered breeds, represent livestock that would have been common throughout 18th-century Virginia. A carriage ride through the Historic Area is a treasured memory of many of our guests, and tremendous effort goes into the maintenance of these reproduction vehicles. Gifts in support of Colonial Williamsburg Coach and Livestock initiatives allows the Foundation to continue its commitment to preserving and protecting these beautiful creatures as well as developing dynamic programming that illustrates the vitality of their role in early American life.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg acquire, conserve, interpret and display thousands of early American artifacts that illuminate our nation’s founding era. The Museums’ extensive holdings include nearly 70,000 examples of American and British fine, decorative and mechanical art; 6,000 pieces of American folk art; more than 20 million archaeological artifacts; and 15,000 architectural fragments. Gifts to the Art Museums help us showcase artifacts in both the Museums and throughout the Historic Area, providing tangible links to the material culture of America’s earliest years as well as hands-on interactive educational programs, themed tours and engaging workshops that are offered throughout the year and complement the world-class scholarship that defines our changing and permanent Museum exhibitions.
Colonial Williamsburg employs more than 500 costumed interpreters who fill the homes, taverns and streets of the Historic Area, inviting guests to join them as they navigate their lives as citizens of a new nation. To extend this living history technique to students and lifelong learners across the country, the Foundation maintains a free, online resource library and provides teacher professional development opportunities that reach millions of individuals each year. Gifts to these initiatives help us bring the American story to life and highlight the critical role of history education in creating an informed and responsible citizenry.
The 85 gardens of Colonial Williamsburg encompass more than 300 acres in and around the Historic Area. From fresh herbs and vegetables to beautiful flowers and shrubs, the native and exotic flora that were grown by the colonists require extensive care and ongoing research. These historically accurate settings provide serene getaways for guests and give them an opportunity to actually stop and smell the roses—and tulips and magnolia. Gifts toward Colonial Williamsburg magnificent historic gardens help us maintain these appealing spaces and educate guests about 18th-century foodways and horticulture.
Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area is comprised of 603 buildings, 88 of which are original to the 18th century. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin considered these non-renewable architectural resources to be his first priority during the initial Restoration. He knew that without them, our beloved Duke of Gloucester Street and our unique ability to transport guests back in time would disappear. Investment in historic preservation initiatives including masonry repairs and wood protective measures permit our historians, preservation scientists, and tradespeople to protect Virginia’s remarkable colonial treasures.
For almost a century, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades program has preserved and revitalized skills that were at risk of becoming long-forgotten, including 18th-century brickmaking, weaving, gardening and cabinetmaking, to name just a few. Each of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades demonstrates a profession practiced in the colonial capital; and produces goods using 18th-century materials, tools and techniques. A visit to the trade shops provides visitors with rich sensory experiences that include face-to-face interactions with costumed tradesmen and women, offering unforgettable encounters with early American craftsmanship and commerce. Gifts to the Historic Trades preserve the skills that shaped our nation while transporting visitors to a time when America’s nascent consumer age was preparing to launch a revolution in taste.