For most of the 18th century, Williamsburg served as the capital of Virginia, the largest and most prosperous American colony. It was the center of business, diplomacy, and independence. The men and women who lived, worked, and traveled through this bustling center of activity came from all walks of life, but sought to better their circumstances in large or small ways. Independence was declared before all other colonies at the Capitol. Native American diplomats met with government officials to secure peace and negotiate trade. More than half of the population was enslaved. Farmers and merchants sold their wares in the Market House. Though the capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond, the city is very much alive today. It's time to go back.
Meet fascinating 18th-century people from a variety of backgrounds and learn how their choices impacted their families and their community. Take a moment to engage with men and women who sought to better their lives each and every day as best they could, despite their circumstances. Chat with tradespeople as they use 18th-century tools and techniques to create unique pieces for use or sale across the city. Learn from modern interpreters as they link the past and present and reveal the ideas that shaped our nation.
Much of the city is open to you, with plenty to see, do, and learn—no matter what your interests may be. Browse our locations below for more information on each of the sites.