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December 5, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg to Reconstruct Tin Shop As Part of the James Anderson Public Armoury Project

Recent archaeological discoveries at the James Anderson Armoury project have confirmed the location of Anderson’s tinsmithing operation on a site adjacent to the Armoury. Those discoveries have led Forrest Mars Jr. to provide an additional $500,000 for reconstruction and endowment of the Revolutionary War-era tinsmith shop.

Extensive archaeology around the current reconstructed outbuilding behind the Mary Stith House has conclusively identified the site as the location of Anderson’s tinsmithing operation. The combination of archaeological and documentary evidence leaves no doubt about the validity of the conclusion.

When complete, the Tin Shop will be the only working 18th-century tin shop in the United States. Historic trades artisans will demonstrate tinsmithing as practiced during the American Revolution. “Forrest Mars’ philanthropy continues to enhance the historical accuracy of the site and will provide our guests with a richer experience of the lives of skilled working men who helped win the war and secure the republic,” said Colin G. Campbell, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

“Adding the Tin Shop as a key focus of the Armoury project will result in one of our most comprehensive approaches to a pivotal Historic Area site,” said James Horn, vice president of research and historical interpretation and the Abby and George O’Neill director of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library. “The work will complete the most important Revolutionary-era military site in Williamsburg, offering guests an entirely different perspective on the role of the capital during a critical moment in the history of the Commonwealth and the nation.”

Forrest Mars Jr. is director emeritus of Mars, Incorporated and former chief executive officer of the company. Mars, who provided a gift of $4.5 million for the James Anderson Blacksmith and Armoury reconstruction project currently underway and funded the $5 million reconstruction of R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse completed in 2009, was elected to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2010. He is a Life Member of the Raleigh Tavern Society and is listed on the Courtyard of Philanthropy at the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center.

Reconstruction of the Tin Shop will follow completion of two other key buildings in the industrial complex, the Armoury and the Kitchen, which will open to the public in the spring of 2012. City permitting process for the Tin Shop began this week with application to the Architectural Review Board.

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. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in 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, 20th and 21st 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. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg 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:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281