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Revolutionaries in Residence

Modern Day Revolutionaries to Inspire You

Established in 2017, Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary in Residence Program honors notable achievers in the worlds of art, media, education and politics to ignite conversation about ongoing national issues while illuminating the link between our nation’s historical roots and contemporary life.

The Revolutionaries in Residence program is generously sponsored by the Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois.




Anika Noni Rose

Beginning July 2019

Anika Noni Rose

We are excited to welcome Tony Award-winning actress and NAACP Image Award nominee Anika Noni Rose as the next Revolutionary in Residence. Anita has empowered and inspired audiences through her portrayals of strong, female characters such as ‘Lorell Robinson’ in Dreamgirls, ‘Princess Tiana’ in Disney’s The Princess and The Frog, and Kizzy in History Channel’s adaption of Roots.

Gordon Wood

October 2019

Gordon Wood

Pulitzer-prize winning historian Gordon S. Wood is Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus at Brown University. He taught at Harvard University and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Brown in 1969. His most recent book is Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and as part of his residency, Wood will moderate “Friends Divided: A ‘Revolutionary in Residence’ Conversation” with President Jefferson and Young Thomas Jefferson. Book signing to follow.

Steven Skybell

May 2019

Stephen Skybell

Actor Steven Skybell joins Colonial Williamsburg’s recognized roster of Revolutionaries in Residence for Mr. Jefferson’s 2019 Palace Garden Party. Skybell’s theater career on Broadway and throughout the world reflects the art of America’s dramatic interpretation at its finest.



Betty Buckley

Betty Buckley

Colonial Williamsburg is proud to announce renowned star of stage and screen Betty Buckley as a 2018 Revolutionary in Residence. Dubbed the “Voice of Broadway,” Ms. Buckley will discuss her expansive career during “A Conversation with Betty Buckley” in the Hennage Auditorium at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg on May 5.

Edward G. Lengel

Betty Buckley

Military and presidential historian Edward G. Lengel is Colonial Williamsburg’s newest Revolutionary in Residence. During his residency this year, Lengel will author the historical text of a new edition of “Colonial Williamsburg: The Official Guide,” and speak at the Hennage Auditorium on July 12.




ric burns

May 2017

Ric Burns

How do we define who can be an American—and what being an American means? The Chinese Exclusion Act, to be released on PBS this year, examines the economic, cultural, social, legal, racial and political dimensions of the law; the forces and events that gave rise to it; and the effect it has had, and continues to have, on American culture and identity. Flim maker Ric Burns gave a partial pre-release screening of this new documentary and led a Q&A after the screening.

chaz mena

April 2017

Chaz Mena

Bernardo de Gálvez, the young and enterprising Spanish Governor of Louisiana, played a key role in the American Revolution—yet he's been largely ignored by history.  As part of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Revolutionaries in Residence program, actor-scholar Chaz Mena performed Yo Solo: Bernardo de Gálvez on the Stage of the American Revolution, a one-man stage performance written and performed by Mena about “America’s Devoted Friend & Spanish Hero,” a man who led the most diverse army of the day to victory. 

michael twitty

February 2017

Michael Twitty

Acclaimed culinary historian, author, interpreter and “Afroculinaria” blogger Michael Twitty launched Colonial Williamsburg’s new Revolutionaries in Residence program, in which Virginia’s 18th-century capital hosts modern-day innovators to engage the nation with fresh perspectives that capture the spirit and relevance of its founding era.