Message from the President
As the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown comes to a close, it is timely to look beyond the achievements of 2007 and to ask, Now what? What can match, what can top, such successes as the Jamestown Anniversary Weekend, the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, the celebration of the victory at Yorktown, the Godspeed Sail to six East Coast cities, the World Forum on the Future of Democracy, and numerous events acknowledging and celebrating the diverse cultures that came together centuries ago in America's Historic Triangle? What did we learn from these 2007 successes, and how can we make good use of that knowledge in 2008 and beyond?
Perhaps the most valuable lesson was that cooperation among the region's historic sites is a prescription for success. This suggests to me the importance of continued collaboration among Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield, Yorktown Victory Center, and Colonial Williamsburg. It means working closely with all institutions and jurisdictions that comprise the Historic Triangle and that have the capacity to help set the region apart as a tourism destination.
What has this new collaborative spirit accomplished so far? We have created the infrastructure for pursuing common interests not only through effective working relationships, but also with improved guest facilities, visitor services, and programming. A good example is the Historic Triangle Bus Shuttle System to Jamestown and Yorktown operating from Colonial Williamsburg's Visitor Center on the Colonial Parkway. There are many others—the Historic Triangle Web site, the new guidebook highlighting sites and services in the region, a destination marketing program—but the single point is that cooperative institutional and jurisdictional initiatives have advanced the promise of the region as well as the prospects of all its constituents. We've demonstrated to ourselves that, working together, America's Historic Triangle can offer a rich and unique visitor experience. We are obligated to continue that effort.
This year we have seen the potential of America's Historic Triangle to enlighten and entertain guests in new ways. We must build on that achievement by understanding and supporting one another for the benefit of the visitor and for the well-being of the destination. We must help one another make our sites maximally visitor friendly, and we need coherence in the message we convey by linking the stories we each tell.
The Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown sagas are chapters in a book that begins with the first English settlers' struggles for survival and ends with the last major battle in the War of Independence. In no other place but America's Historic Triangle can the story of our nation's beginnings be told as it can be told here. In addition to continued collaboration in the region, among the first items on my "Now what?" agenda is better communicating to the rest of America how rich the Historic Triangle experience is, and how guests can get the most from it.
In my conversations with our bus drivers, what I hear over and over again is that people say, "I wish I had known how much there was to see and do at Colonial Williamsburg and made my plans accordingly." They are in a sense disappointed by a short stop in Williamsburg, and they are disappointed if they haven't made the time to see the rest of the story in Jamestown and Yorktown. "Now what?" is getting that message out. Where to start? One place is 1-800-HISTORY, where you can order a free Vacation Planner. Another is www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/visit/planyourvisit. A third is www.historictriangle.com. These resources are ways of sharing the message, of describing the importance, of emphasizing the appeal of a visit to America's Historic Triangle. Take a look. I think you'll want to block out two or three days for this on your own "Now what?" list.
Colin G. Campbell
Chairman and President