See the time before power tools and meet our world-class artisans in the Historic Trades. Must see for DIY and makers of all ages!
During the summer, brickmakers mold and dry thousands of bricks. You can even give them a hand by taking off your shoes and stomping water into the clay with your bare feet! Come back in the autumn and see the bricks you helped create bake in a giant, wood-fired oven. Keep an eye out, too, for masons using these bricks in all sorts of projects around town.
The Revolutionary War wasn't won through battles alone. To keep pace with the might of British industry, Virginia desperately needed a new armoury. Watch our blacksmiths take red-hot iron from the fires of their forges and hammer it into a variety of tools, hardware, and weapons.
Be an 18th-century customer. Share your fashion needs as boxes, drawers, and bundles full of the latest ornaments and accessories, called millinery, are offered for your inspection. Consult with the mantua-maker about updating old gowns to bring them into the newest 18th-century fashion.
Participants in this one-hour mini workshop will be guided through an exploration of leather craft techniques by the staff of the Public Leather Works Program. Each participant will produce for themselves a beautiful and useful high quality steer hide waist belt. All materials, hardware, and supplies are included in the ticket price. As this class requires the use of sharp tools, it is restricted to accompanied teens and adults and is not recommended for children. Classes will meet at 9:30 a.m. in the Armoury yard, weather permitting.Learn More
Try your hand at weaving in this class for all levels of experience. You will learn the history behind weaving in Williamsburg at the time of the Revolution to spark your patriotic homespun spirit. This class is taught on pre-warped modern looms, on which you will be able to pass the shuttle back-and-forth to build up a cotton hand towel to take home. All necessary supplies will be provided in this workshop, including care instructions for your hand-woven towel.Learn More
In an age before TV, radio, and the internet, the printed word was the primary means of long-distance mass communication. Watch and learn as printers set type and use reproduction printing presses to manufacture colonial newspapers, political notices, pamphlets and books.
Silver cups, teapots, and spoons were not just for show. They were a good way to "store" your assets. Skilled smiths transformed coins and outdated silverware into fashionable pieces for the dining room, parlour, and personal adornment. Drop in and see how our silversmiths turn ingots into works of art.
Fashion was just as important in the 18th century as today - maybe even more so if you wanted to be part of the "in crowd". Routinely wearing a wig may seeem strange to us, especially for men, but it communicated the wearer's elegance, his station in society, and even his occupation to his fellow colonists. With the skill of a barber and hairdresser combined, our wigmakers fashion "perukes" of quality and distinction.
"Navajo Weavings: Tradition and Trade," in the McCarl Gallery features over twenty rare, colorful and pictorial Navajo weavings created by anonymous Navajo women working on hand looms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibition showcases a variety of pictorial designs, materials, and symbolic imagery. The earliest object is a man's traditional wearing blanket from about 1860. Later weavings from the early 20th century began to depict the influence of the Anglo world including the incorporation of trains, American flags, and livestock.Learn More
This exhibition highlights these decorative, yet useful, objects made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.Learn More
The work of a colonial gunsmith united many skills, from forging iron to working wood. A careful eye and steady hand ensured each firearm would work as expected once assembled. Today, our gunsmiths use the tools and techniques of their 18th-century predecessors to make rifles, pistols, and fowling pieces.
Joiners were woodworkers who produced the finish work for buildings: doors, windows, shutters, fireplace surrounds, and built-in cupboards. They worked closely with the carpenters who constructed Williamsburg's buildings and installed the joiners' components. Watch our experts use saws, planes, hammers, and other tools to fashion wood into the pieces of a future building.
Apprentice cabinetmakers studied many years under their masters to learn how to make furniture. Discover how they learned the necessary "mechanical genius" and newest designs. Watch experts fashion the tables, chairs, desks, and chests that would have graced the homes of both town and country.
The fun doesn't end just because the sun sets. Whether you're looking for some drama or to be spooked, there's something to entertain you.
With a mixture of restaurants, bars, lounges, and cafés located in and around the Historic Area, you’ll find the perfect place for a historically-inspired family meal or an intimate evening of creative cuisine.