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June 4, 2010

Go behind the scenes of Colonial Williamsburg’s Costume Design Center

Colonial Williamsburg’s Costume Design Center opens its door for behind-the-scenes tours at 3:30 p.m. each Thursday through Oct. 14. Guests can meet staff members and explore the building where most of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area costumes are designed and maintained.

For more than 75 years, the Costume Design Center has outfitted most Historic Area staff, including exhibition building interpreters, Revolutionary City actor interpreters, theatrical interpretation, military programs interpreters and Fifes and Drums, as well as employees in coach and livestock, selected Historic Trades shops, Electronic Field Trips and Historic Area stores.

There are about 144 types of garments from underwear to outerwear issued dressing both genders and all strata of colonial society. For women, the design center produces gowns, petticoats, stays, shifts, women jackets and bed gowns, caps, hats, kerchiefs, aprons, pockets, hoops, jewelry, mitts, gloves, cloaks and riding habits. For men, the design center makes shirts, stocks, cravats, breeches, trousers, waistcoat, sleeved and sleeveless jackets, coats, great coats, cloaks, kerchiefs, caps, spats and hats.

The dedication of Duke of Gloucester Street on Oct. 20, 1934, ushered in the tradition of costume design to Colonial Williamsburg. The ceremony brought President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Historic Area, where he was greeted by hostesses dressed in colonial costumes for the first time.

For a timeline to see how Colonial Williamsburg’s costumes have evolved thanks to ongoing research, resources for the reproduction of historic costumes and more, go to:

The Costume Design Center is located at 250 First St., Williamsburg. Tours are free with any Historic Area admission pass or Good Neighbor pass. Reservations are required and can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet or by calling 1-800-HISTORY.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City© program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover rare treasures and storied objects throughout the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation.

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. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121