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October 5, 2010

National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Enables Colonial Williamsburg to Expand Map-based Internet Research Tool

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has expanded eWilliamsburg, a map-based Internet research tool. Funding for the project came from a $275,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Historical, archaeological and architectural information has been integrated into an interactive map that will enable the public and researchers to examine how the town changed from 1699 to 1800. “This tool gives us a sense of how dynamic Williamsburg was and shows how the town grew from a small outpost when it became the capital of Virginia to a thriving city by the start of the American Revolution,” said Lisa Fischer, Colonial Williamsburg director of the Digital History Center.

eWilliamsburg can be accessed online at

Scholars, students and the general public can navigate the map with several tools including:

  • Timeline. The timeline allows users to map Williamsburg’s physical layout for any year between 1699 and 1800 or to watch it grow across time using the Slideshow function.
  • Buildings. Users can identify when particular buildings were standing or search by building type to explore neighborhood composition. Colonial buildings that cannot be dated precisely have been included in a separate Undated Buildings layer that can be turned on or off.
  • Parcels. Users can find residents associated with parcels and explore how property ownership changed over time.
  • Events. Users can view the map in the context of selected local and world-changing events.

    This second phase of eWilliamsburg has been designated an NEH We the People project which is designed to encourage and enhance the teaching, study and understanding of American history, culture and democratic principles. NEH was founded on the belief that cultivating the best of the humanities has real and tangible benefits for civic life. Through We the People, NEH has rededicated itself to this mission, and is leading a renaissance in knowledge about American history and principles among all our citizens.

    The initial $339,000 grant from NEH for Phase I of the project funded an interactive map for accessing the Foundation’s research reports detailing archaeological, architectural, and historical projects from the late 1920s to the present. This tool can be accessed by clicking the link to the Reference Map at the top of the new eWilliamsburg interface.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization 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. 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

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