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June 16, 2009

CW's Capitol Building and Governor's Palace celebrate 75th anniversaries with special focus tours this summer

Two of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area exhibition sites – the Capitol Building and the Governor’s Palace – celebrate their 75th anniversaries in 2009.

To celebrate these milestones, special focus tours of the Capitol and Governor’s Palace tell the story of how the two sites have evolved and:

  • Examine the beginnings of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the people who were instrumental in bringing the Historic Area into being, the creation of public awareness of America’s architectural treasures and the development of preservation techniques;
  • Learn about the era in which the Capitol Building and the Governor’s Palace were reconstructed; and
  • Understand the techniques used to research, reconstruct and furnish these two buildings by examining photos, documents and the buildings.

    During the summer, the anniversary tours of the Capitol are offered from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, June 15-July 17 and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, July 21-Aug. 29. Special tours of the Governor’s Palace are offered 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from June 16-July 18 and Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, July 20-Aug. 30.

    A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or Good Neighbor Card provides access to enjoy these programs. For more information, call 1-800-HISTORY.

    Background

    The Capitol and the Governor’s Palace opened as exhibition buildings in 1934. The original Governor’s Palace was completed in 1722, after 16 years of construction. Standing as evidence of the position vice royalty enjoyed in the capital of England’s largest American colony, it was the third largest public building in Williamsburg. The Governor’s Palace served as the residence for the first two Virginia Commonwealth governors – Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.

    The Capitol served the seat of colonial power and site of Virginia’s vote for independence on May 15, 1776, and as the home to the General Assembly of the new Commonwealth of Virginia from 1776-79. At the Capitol, Patrick Henry delivered his Caesar-Brutus speech against the Stamp Act in 1765.

    Three gubernatorial inaugurations have taken place in the Capitol in Williamsburg. Henry took the oath of office here June 29, 1776. Jefferson became the Commonwealth’s chief executive June 1, 1779. On Jan. 14, 2006, Timothy Kaine was sworn in at the colonial capital as Virginia’s 70th governor.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at www.history.org.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



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