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March 8, 2002

Americans invited to become inspired, educated about their nation at CW in 2002

The town that inspired a nation and gave rise to such fundamental American ideals as freedom and democracy invites visitors to Colonial Williamsburg in 2002 to experience a country, and a city, on the eve of the American Revolution. This year, travelers to the nation’s oldest and largest living history museum can re-ignite their patriotic fires by exploring the social, political and family life of Virginia’s 18th-century capital.

In 2002, visitors will step back in time to 1774 to interact with America’s Founding Fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Washington, and learn firsthand how and why these patriots and other Virginia colonists unified a nation, and demanded their independence from England.

In recent years Colonial Williamsburg’s world-renowned Historic Area has been brought to life through one of six “stories;” slavery, religious freedom, family life, commerce and trade, land acquisition and choosing revolution. Beginning Monday, March 18, those six “stories” will be combined seasonally to create a more complete sense of how the residents of 18th-century Williamsburg became Americans. Throughout town, visitors will have the opportunity to delve into exciting and engaging stories as Williamsburg opens its homes and shops. New Colonial Williamsburg programs in 2002 will include:

  • “About Town”–During this hour-and-a-half walking tour visitors are personally escorted throughout the Historic Area by “People of the Past” such as Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington and others, who invite visitors to see 18th-century Williamsburg through the eyes of those who once lived there.
  • “Talk of the Town”–Eighteenth-century characters meet with visitors embarking on their Historic Area experience to provide an unparalleled introduction to colonial Virginia. Visitors will get a firsthand account of the events that were important to this community, and this nation, in spring 1774.
  • “Among the Dipping Gourds”–This multi-day series begins on Wednesday afternoons when free black and enslaved men struggle with their personal sense of manhood in a slave society that values them primarily for their labor, skills and services. On Thursday afternoons, slaves face a possible death sentence during criminal cases in the Courthouse. On Friday afternoons, free black and enslaved women discuss public and private issues they encounter on a daily basis as slave women.
  • “A Licensed Dissenter”–The Reverend James Waddell, Presbyterian minister and teacher, regularly visits the meeting house established by Williamsburg residents. Mr. Waddell, in addition to preaching duties, offers instruction to children in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and English as well geometry and surveying for young men.

    Daily Colonial Williamsburg 2002 highlights include an estate appraisal at the Tenant House site on Mondays; afternoon court trials at the Courthouse of 1770 on Tuesdays; on Wednesdays and Saturdays the House of Burgesses is dissolved and its members defiantly retire to the Raleigh Tavern to deliberate their next step. The day’s climax occurs when residents stage their own act of defiance. On Thursdays, the court of Oyer and Terminer tries cases involving enslaved Virginians. Friday visitors will have the opportunity to follow an 18th-century love story as Mr. Drinkard and Miss Grant have a miscommunication about their romantic interest in one another. Fortunately, all is resolved before the sheriff’s auction at day’s end. On Sundays, visitors discover members of the Bruton Parish Church vestry wrestling with the many duties and responsibilities to the community, not the least of which is an unlicensed Baptist preacher who ends the day by challenging their authority.

    Visitors to Colonial Williamsburg’s trade shops will have a lively discussion with costumed tradespeople such as shoemakers, silversmiths, wigmakers and others who practice their craft just as they did here more than 225 years ago.

    When evening falls, the 18th century appears in a whole new light. Candles cast a warm glow, balladeers’ music can be heard from authentic colonial taverns and an after-dinner stroll could lead to a concert at the Governor’s Palace.

    Colonial Williamsburg’s five unique hotels adjacent to the Historic Area will enhance any stay. The world-renowned Williamsburg Inn has been refreshed after an extensive yearlong renovation.

    In 2002, Liberty Pass and Freedom Pass holders are invited to experience special evening programs offered exclusively to them. Beginning at 5:45 p.m., the “Williamsburg Sampler” will add a new dimension to visitors’ understanding of America’s past. It will bring colonial history to life in the most wonderful way imaginable—up close and personal.

    “Colonial Performances” offer visitors another way to enjoy a night out. Visitors are invited to attend musical galas, colonial dancing, dramatic presentations and unforgettable plays. Reservations are required and tickets may be purchased at any ticket location. Liberty Pass holders receive free admission with a reservation while Freedom Pass holders receive a 50 percent discount.

    New in 2002, all Colonial Williamsburg tickets include free parking at the recently renovated Visitor Center. The Freedom Pass and Liberty Pass include admission to all exhibition buildings, daytime programs and museums throughout Colonial Williamsburg as well as Carter’s Grove, a James River plantation that spans nearly 400 years of Virginia history.

    The Day Pass includes admission to all of the above except Carter’s Grove. The Day Pass ($33 Adults, $16.50 Youth 6-17) is valid for one day and provides strong value for visitors with limited time. The Freedom Pass ($39 Adults, $19.50 Youth 6-17) is valid for one full year and includes the “Williamsburg Sampler” programming. The Freedom Pass provides the freedom; flexibility and convenience to enjoy Colonial Williamsburg for several days and on return visits throughout the year. The Liberty Pass ($59 Adults, $29.50 Youth 6-17) also is valid for one full year. It includes all the features of the Freedom Pass plus special events, access to a VIP visitors’ lounge and discounts.

    Media Contact:
    Lorraine C. Brooks
    (757) 220-7280