Annual Report 2007
"The extraordinary achievement that is Colonial Williamsburg"
A fine Colonial Williamsburg carriage conveys Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip down Duke of Gloucester Street during their May 2007 visit.
Moderator Jim Lehrer with Lawrence Eagleburger, Ali Ansari, and Sandra Day O’Connor at September’s World Forum on the Future of Democracy
On the Internet, Colonial Williamsburg introduced the iCitizenForum.com Web site to encourage greater participation in the democratic process.
At the Capitol, PBS’s Jim Lehrer moderated the Dialogues in Democracy taping and panels of citizen-participants who came from across America.
Electronic Field Trips reached almost six million schoolchildren in 2007–8 by broadcast, Internet, and cable.
Native American relations with the colonists, as well as trade, Jamestown, and museum conservation were subjects of electronic field trips.
Colin Campbell, Ronald Hurst, Abby O’Neill, and Sharon Rockefeller at the opening of the relocated Folk Art Museum
The foundation acquired a watercolor of a young slave girl made in 1831 by Mary Anne Custis, wife of Robert E. Lee.
The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum offers a weekly tour for children and parents and has a section for youngsters in which they can draw, color, and create. The museum moved into new, larger quarters at the site of the Public Hospital in 2007.
With historically informed treatments, the Spa serves guests of the Resort Collection of Colonial Williamsburg and others.
The Williamsburg Lodge redesigned, renovated, and rebuilt—contains 323 rooms and 45,000 square feet of conference space.
From left, top, trustee board chairman Richard G. Tilghman; trustees Thomas F. Farrell II, Judith A. McHale, Barbara Bowen Oberg, and, bottom row, Henry C. Wolf and Thomas K. Norment Jr.; vice presidents James Horn and Glenn Williams.
During their two-day visit to Virginia, England’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were garden-lunch guests of Governor Timothy Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, and Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President Colin Campbell and his wife, Nancy, at the foundation’s reconstructed Governor’s Palace. The day before, May 3, the queen had addressed a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond, and ridden a carriage down Duke of Gloucester Street to take rooms at the Williamsburg Inn. May 4, she toured Jamestown, and after the lunch, called at the College of William and Mary.
Her Majesty told her luncheon companions:
"I am very grateful to the Governor and Mr. Campbell for their warm welcome. Prince Philip and I are delighted to be back in Williamsburg fifty years after our last visit.
Some of the most vivid memories of the early years of my reign are from that first visit here in 1957. Before I arrived in America this time, I had heard much about the changes and new discoveries both in Jamestown and in Williamsburg that I would find. But descriptions cannot prepare you for the reality. My visits to the Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne this morning were fascinating. I am very impressed by the new educational facilities at both locations, and I, like so many others, could not but be moved by the poignancy of walking around the archaeological site where the original fort once stood and of imagining something of the experience of those early settlers when they first made landfall on the James River."
"I must also record my appreciation of the extraordinary achievement that is Colonial Williamsburg itself. The realization of the dream of John D. Rockefeller and the Reverend Goodwin eighty years ago has created an invaluable version of living history, so that the future can learn from the past. I would like to congratulate all those individuals and their organizations who have devoted so much time and energy to developing the Historic Triangle for the benefit of present and future generations.
I said at the Capitol in Richmond yesterday that the Jamestown landing is not just a historical fact, but a symbol—a symbol of the convergence of civilisations, of the spread of the rule of law, of the growth of representative democracy—and also the symbol of friendship—the deep and enduring friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom. And at a personal level, my visits to Jamestown and Williamsburg, separated by fifty years, symbolize for me the warmth of the welcome Prince Philip and I have always received during our many visits to the United States over the years. I would like to thank you again for welcoming us here today."
Message from the President
Colonial Williamsburg’s Reach and Impact
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will remember 2007 as a banner year in many respects. The commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown, including Anniversary Weekend, Queen Elizabeth’s visit, and the World Forum on the Future of Democracy; the dedication of the new Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum; the Dialogues in Democracy project in cooperation with MacNeil-Lehrer Productions; the completed restoration of the Williamsburg Lodge; and the opening of the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg were all significant highlights. It was, as well, another year of rising attendance, of expanding distance education, of lively new programming in the Historic Area, and of growing numbers of virtual visits through the World Wide Web.
These exciting developments make this annual message an appropriate place to examine the foundation’s reach and impact, which were evident and deepened in multiple ways during the year.
In 2000, we began preparing for the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. The foundation signed on as a Founding Colony sponsor in 2004, and, with Historic Jamestowne, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Jamestown 2007, the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission, and many others, we collaborated to make the quadricentennial a Historic Triangle triumph.
The foundation was an integral part of America’s Anniversary Weekend, the culmination of eighteen months of special events, and a major presence in Anniversary Park festivities at Jamestown. We performed "Visions of Democracy," an onstage colloquy about self-government between Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, at Democracy Village; demonstrated the crafts of the wheelwright, gunsmith, saddler, cabinetmaker, cooper, apothecary, and milliner; set up a colonial garden; entertained youngsters with eighteenth-century games; and supplied staff and volunteer assistance. Many guests reached the festivities on buses provided by Colonial Williamsburg and local government, shuttling from our Visitor Center, the regional information hub. Our hotels and Colonial Houses were the official anniversary lodgings.
The visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip was truly memorable for all who participated. Our distinguished guests rode down Duke of Gloucester Street in our finest carriage, drawn by our best horses. They delighted crowds lining the thoroughfare to their accommodations at the Williamsburg Inn. Our webcast to the world recalled the royal couple’s 1957 visit during Jamestown’s 350th anniversary.
The following day, after tours of Jamestown, the queen joined Vice President Richard Cheney, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Governor Timothy Kaine, and other distinguished guests for lunch on the lawn of the Governor’s Palace. She told us that "the Jamestown landing is not just a historical fact, but a symbol—a symbol of the convergence of civilisations, of the spread of the rule of law, of the growth of representative democracy—and also the symbol of friendship—the deep and enduring friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom." Her Majesty graciously spoke of "the extraordinary achievement that is Colonial Williamsburg." Foundation employees served the royal party at the Inn, in the Historic Area, at the Governor’s Palace, and elsewhere. The public affairs office coordinated with Buckingham Palace and the British Embassy the press coverage of the visit, organizing pool reporting and transportation. Stories appeared in more than 800 venues, reaching an audience of perhaps twenty-five million.
In September, 600 invited delegates, including eighty-five representatives from sixteen emerging democracies, scholars, advocates, journalists, political figures, and officials gathered at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center for the three-day World Forum on the Future of Democracy. It was the final gathering in a year-long series that brought international figures to Virginia university campuses, and the last signature event of America’s 400th. Sponsored by the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission, Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William and Mary, and Virginia’s Jamestown 2007 organization, the forum took for its theme "Jamestown Legacies for the 21st Century." Those legacies were explored in panel discussions and one-on-one conversations with senior foundation trustees retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer, and historian Gordon Wood and such other distinguished guests as historian and author Joseph Ellis, columnist David Brooks, Senator John Warner, the Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson, and a host of others. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates was a luncheon speaker, and PBS videotaped an evening session at the college open to the community and led by Jim Lehrer.
The forum was the appropriate time to launch iCitizenForum.com, a discussion-focused Web site devoted to ongoing virtual conversations about the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy, and eventually to connecting millions through participation in blogs, discussion forums, and with YouTube-like user-generated content in an exchange that is itself a democratic experience. The site provides a glossary, a citizenship timeline, and documents that contributed to the evolution of human rights and citizenship.
Jim Lehrer returned for four days in November with a PBS By the People Project team to tape Dialogues in Democracy: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It brought forty-five citizens from across the country to Williamsburg as the culmination of civic dialogues in eleven American communities and asked them to link founding principles articulated in Williamsburg in the eighteenth century to such twenty-first- century issues as race, religion, taxes, and immigration. PBS broadcast the program in 2008 to more than 300 affiliates.
Ticket sales rose for the third consecutive year, up 5 percent, to 780,000. The actual attendance, however, was larger, as indicated by more realistic methods for counting guests. For the first time, we reported ticket sales to evening programs and carriage rides—310,000. Like the traditionally counted visits to the Historic Area, those are ticketed activities, too. They should figure when we compare our visitation with that of other historic sites. Of the 780,000 general admission tickets we sold—compared with 745,000 in 2006—we know more than 52 percent of ticket holders visit more days than one. Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area has no front door. If you imagine we did, and were to calculate how many people went through in 2007—those with one- or two-day tickets or with annual passes—the number of visit days would exceed 1.5 million. That is a conservative calculation, since we count annual ticket holders for three visits per year, and we know that is low. Ten percent to 15 percent of our guests buy no tickets at all. More than 2.2 million people rode our buses in the Historic Area during the year, and 175,000 caught them to Yorktown and Jamestown.
Our off-site figures are even more striking. About six million school-age children participated in our electronic field trips during the 2007–8 school year, taking advantage of the Internet and hundreds of participating television stations. Our Web sites attracted twenty-one million visits, a 35 percent increase from the year before. These audiences, and the technology-based tools we rely on to reach them, are central to the foundation’s future. These statistics speak directly to the foundation’s reach and impact. Colonial Williamsburg reaches into classrooms and homes across the nation and is helping to shape the ideas and attitudes of this generation of Americans and the next.
Colonial Williamsburg’s endowment, after withdrawals for operations and debt repayment, grew to a record $820 million, returning 17.7 percent on its principal. That is well in excess of the 5.5 percent return of the Standard and Poor’s 500, a commonly used measure of the stock market’s performance. In the year ending December 31, 2007, our investment performance among libraries and museums was first in the country.
Crucial to Colonial Williamsburg’s mission is the generosity of thousands of individuals and organizations that each year include the foundation in their philanthropic plans. To name them all in this limited space would be impossible, but I offer my heartfelt thanks to every person and organization for their gifts to the foundation’s work. The annual fund benefited from $14.8 million in donations, up 5 percent from 2006, and the number of donors rose to 119,000, up more than 3.1 percent. It was the sixth consecutive year more than 100,000 individuals contributed to Colonial Williamsburg’s work, thereby helping to inspire generations, including millions of children, with a passion and excitement for history and the responsibilities of citizenship.
Education for Citizenship, a set of initiatives designed to inspire individual participation in self-government, is the guiding theme for Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programming. Through street theater, conferences, distance learning, teacher institutes, telecasts, and the Internet, we engaged millions in important conversations about citizenship rights and responsibilities.
They included presentations of America as a revolutionary nation, illustrated by the tableaus of Revolutionary City performed daily by actor-interpreters in the Historic Area. Revolutionary City entered its second season with new story lines, new scenes and events, winter and summer. Among them are Revolutionary City after Dark reenactments of a Capitol ball and Lord Dunmore’s 1775 gunpowder raid on the Magazine.
Guests applaud the focus on the importance of individual participation in a democratic republic, see how it made the difference between subject and citizen in eighteenth-century Williamsburg, and understand the relevance to our contemporary concerns. Surveys show younger guests find appealing the street-theater approach to telling the stories of Williamsburg. That is good and important news, because young people are the future. That realization informs our off-site distance learning, our teacher workshops, and our secondary school curriculum development.
Colonial Williamsburg is connecting the issues of today with the principles of the colonial period, connections that are important to understand and appreciate. They speak to the twenty-first-century relevance of this place by focusing on the democratic precepts that emerged in the eighteenth century, and that are fundamental to sustaining our democracy.
PBS helped broadcast our 2007–8 electronic field trips—Jamestown Unearthed, Emissaries of Peace, Founders or Traitors, For Ready Money, No Master over Me, Treasure Keepers, and The Industrious Tradesman—to schools in forty-nine states and three foreign countries. Also carried on cable channels, these productions capitalize on Internet and interactive technologies to extend our range. Each is supported by teacher guides, lesson plans, glossaries, timelines, Internet activities, and online connectivity to foundation historians, and students participate from their classrooms by phoning or emailing questions.
Our publications department supported 2007’s commemorative activity by issuing Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown: Official Guide to America’s Historic Triangle and 1607: Jamestown and the New World, as well as new editions of the Official Guide to Colonial Williamsburg and The Revolution in Virginia, 1775–1783. It also published a novel for young readers, Red Thunder, and Witches and Ghosts, Pirates and Thieves, Murder and Mayhem: Scary Tales from Colonial Williamsburg.
Public affairs and other foundation staff were instrumental in another media project that drew on the Historic Area for a national audience, the on-location filming of scenes for the HBO miniseries John Adams. Based on the Pulitzer-prizewinning biography by David McCullough and produced by Tom Hanks’s Playtone Company, it starred, among others, Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, and featured Colonial Williamsburg’s Public Hospital, Gaol, Wythe House, and Palace Green as key locations. Our experts helped director Tom Hooper capture historical details from speech and eighteenth-century manners to the physical realities of war and disease. The show premiered in 2008 to laudatory reviews, and as long as it is seen, on cable or on DVD, viewers will glimpse Colonial Williamsburg. Our role is described by the production’s principals in a special documentary feature produced for the DVD.
In 2007, we conducted ten regional Teaching American History seminars and conferences in nine states. The programs encourage teachers, with the help of traveling Colonial Williamsburg costumed interpreters, to step back in time and bring history to life in the classroom. Participants learn historical content and classroom strategies, and take away facsimile artifacts and documents, a subscription to electronic field trips, and lesson plans. More than 500 elementary and secondary school instructors came to town for summer’s Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, an intense seven-day immersion in early American history. They returned to their classrooms with a new understanding of how we became Americans, new approaches to engaging children, and renewed enthusiasm for their work.
In the autumn we offered our third annual storytelling festival, "Spinning Stories/Spanning Time: A Weekend of Stories Old and New," which drew a larger crowd than ever before. And, on a smaller scale and for a primarily academic audience, there was the impressive Equiano Lecture Series, a two-day symposium titled "Unifying the Divine and Secular: The Role of Theology and the Law in the Abolition of the Slave Trade." On-site and off-, a focus on citizenship is an educational strategy we seek to advance. It reaches large audiences beyond Williamsburg, extends knowledge and understanding of Colonial Williamsburg, provides incentives to visit, and, most important, contributes to broader and deeper understanding of the significance of citizen engagement to the well-being of our democratic republic.
Among the sites to visit in 2007 was the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, rededicated in February on the eve of its fiftieth birthday in its new home at the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. A lively place, it has an ambience well suited to its art. Made possible by $7.5 million in gifts, 10,400 square feet of exhibition space are divided among eleven temperature-, humidity-, and light-controlled galleries that show off the collection.
Among the individuals who participated in AARFAM’s rededication was Abby Rockefeller’s granddaughter and namesake, Abby O’Neill. Abby O’Neill and her husband, George, served the foundation as trustees for twenty-eight years. They are wise counselors, generous supporters, senior trustees, and President’s Council members. Also attending AARFAM’s opening and lending substance to the occasion was current foundation trustee Sharon Percy Rockefeller.
AARFAM, the nation’s leading center for the research, preservation, and exhibition of folk art, is now more accessible to guests and retains its identity adjacent to the DeWitt Wallace Museum at the Public Hospital site.
Among the 2007 acquisitions by our talented museum staff is a watercolor of an enslaved plantation girl painted in 1831 by Mary Anne Randolph Custis, daughter of George Washington’s step-granddaughter and bride of Robert E. Lee. Among exhibitions of note were: Captured Colors: Four Battleflags of the American Revolution, rebel banners captured by British officer Banastre Tarleton at Waxhaus, South Carolina, and Pound Ridge, New York. On loan from an anonymous private collector until January 9, 2009, they include the only intact set of battle flags from the American Revolution, and had adorned the walls of Tarleton’s homes in Great Britain. Before the year was out, 280,000 guests took in the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, making the facility one of the fifty best attended in America, and one of the top two museums in Virginia.
Hospitality is central to the Colonial Williamsburg experience, and was indispensable to the foundation’s 2007 successes. The Resort Collection of Colonial Williamsburg offers gracious accommodations, classic golf, inspired spa treatments, and authentic tavern dining—the best of the American experience. The Williamsburg Lodge, with its resort amenities and meeting facilities, became, after nearly three years of work, fully operational. It boasts 323 guest rooms, a restaurant, lobby and registration area, lounge, gift shop, and 45,000 square feet of world-class conference center space.
Across the street the new Spa of Colonial Williamsburg opened in February. A full-service facility, it has received extraordinary media attention and industry acclaim. Along with a fitness center, it has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, locker rooms, private lounges, a steam room and sauna, and spa cuisine. The spa offers healing methods influenced by practices over the centuries from Native Americans, the English, African Americans, and others—a continuum of wellness delivered in the style and spirit of the twenty-first century.
The Golden Horseshoe Golf Courses hosted thirty collegiate teams for the 110th annual NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship in May. The sponsoring university was Virginia Commonwealth University, and the winning team was from Stanford University.
Bringing the Lodge and spa online completed our more than eight-year, $150-million hospitality upgrade. Income from all resort operations is essential for the support of educational programs. Likewise, earnings from products.
Products Division retail revenue grew 2.2 percent, the largest increase since 2002. Sales at Historic Area outlets were among the year’s best performances, and catalog changes brought improved holiday sales. The redesigned consumer Web site, WilliamsburgMarketplace.com, now includes a gift finder, enhanced engraving information, and an improved online catalog. In 2007, eight licensees joined our program, including Reed & Barton, Jason Products, Aldik, Campania, Troy/Hudson Valley Lighting, Windham Fabrics, PK Lifestyles, and Ellery.
Several professional organizations and publications recognized the range of our endeavors in 2007. The Association of Educational Publishers honored Scott Foresman’s California History–Social Science series text, created in partnership with Colonial Williamsburg, as the best elementary curriculum. The Web Marketing Association gave prizes to our comprehensive Web site for its "Colonial Williamsburg: Past and Present" podcasts, as well as the Coins and Currency in Colonial America online exhibit, and the interactive features "Tour the Town" and "Kids Zone."
The Rand McNally Road Atlas named Revolutionary City a "Best of the Road Editor’s Pick." Golf Digest put the Golden Horseshoe Gold Course on its biennial list of America’s Greatest Public Courses, Golfweek on its Best Courses You Can Play list, and GolfStyles Washington on its roster of The Middle Atlantic’s 200 Must-play Courses. Golf Range Magazine named our nine-hole Spotswood course one of the twelve top executive golf courses in the nation. Les Clefs d’Or USA gave the Williamsburg Inn concierge its Keys of Gold award.
To receive such awards, to be the object of such thoughtful philanthropy, to enjoy all the achievements of 2007, confirms the wisdom of functioning as One Foundation. Success depends upon making connections between the lodging, meeting, and recreational facilities of the Resort Collection of Colonial Williamsburg, the museums, the restaurants, the craft shops, the book- and gift stores, the Internet, and, of course, the Historic Area. One Foundation values promote the highest-quality guest experience; strengthen educational, research, and outreach programs; help to achieve financial goals; encourage workforce development; and provide responsible stewardship of institutional assets.
Responsible stewardship informed our carefully protected divestment of Carter’s Grove, a 400-acre James River property eight miles from the Historic Area. The terms of the $15.3 million sale guarantee long-term protection of the site’s historical, architectural, visual, archaeological, and environmental resources. The purchaser, who intends to raise thoroughbred horses there, agreed to easements vested in the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources that protect the Carter’s Grove mansion viewshed and archaeological sites, and prohibit residential or commercial development.
The transfer of this historically significant property from institutional to private ownership has proved to be of great interest to the historic preservation and conservation community. Two leaders in the preservation field wrote in a widely circulated newspaper article that "the sale was exemplary of a successful new strategy within the preservation movement: the return of some historic house museums to productive private use as a way to ensure the buildings’ long-term viability." Colonial Williamsburg "reassessed the plantation’s needs in a way that should serve as a model for other historic house museums across the nation."
In all that it does, Colonial Williamsburg is guided by the counsel and participation of a dedicated and experienced board of trustees. Accepting seats on the board in 2007 were Thomas F. Farrell II of Richmond, Virginia, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Dominion Resources, and former rector of the board of visitors of the University of Virginia; Judith A. McHale of Bethesda, Maryland, former president and chief executive officer of Discovery Communications, and current president of Brimark Ventures Group; Barbara B. Oberg of Princeton, New Jersey, history professor and lecturer at Princeton University, where she is general editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson; Henry C. Wolf of Norfolk, Virginia, retired vice chairman and chief financial officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation and vice rector and board of visitors member at the College of William and Mary; and Virginia state Senator Thomas K. Norment Jr., a partner in the law firm of Kaufman & Canoles, co-chairman of the board of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and chairman of the Jamestown 2007 management committee.
The experience of these accomplished individuals in business, finance, communications, education, and public service and their collective passion for history and the mission of Colonial Williamsburg will serve the foundation faithfully and well. We are grateful for their commitment.
Trustee Joshua Darden retired in 2007 after eleven years of service to the foundation. A highly respected business leader in the Commonwealth, and former rector of the University of Virginia, Josh Darden served the foundation with distinction and continues as a close friend and supporter.
New foundation vice presidents are James Horn, overseeing historical research and serving as the Abby and George O’Neill Director of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, and Glenn Williams, overseeing funds development.
The board also decided to return the foundation to a traditional not-for-profit governance model which relies on a nonexecutive chair. In February 2008, we announced that Richard G. Tilghman, a trustee since 1994 and vice chairman since 2000, had been elected chairman. He has been an enormously able and committed partner, and that relationship continues.
I continue to serve the foundation as president and chief executive officer. The board is working with me to achieve an orderly transition of presidential leadership. There is no deadline, but a board-appointed succession committee has begun its work.
As it proceeds, I will be active in implementing the strategic plan developed in 2007, a blueprint of the foundation’s future that embraces everything from program renewal and increased visitation to recruiting and workforce development, with attention to institutional needs and regional pressures. We continue to address the challenge of bringing the foundation’s revenues and expenses in line, and that remains a first priority.
Colonial Williamsburg is a complex, multifaceted organization. There are unusual and interesting challenges involved in leading this institution and seeking to be sure it never falls short of its ideals and goals.
For more than eighty-one years, I believe we have fulfilled the expectations of its founders, thanks to supporters, staff, trustees—to people like you—who have seen the value of Colonial Williamsburg to our nation, who year after year permitted no diminution of commitment and insist on excellence. Who would imagine that an institution founded in the 1920s and dedicated to the preservation of an eighteenth-century community would endure and thrive into the twenty-first century? And indeed, be more vital than ever to current and future generations?
Colonial Williamsburg’s evolution as a national treasure has required sustained effort and strategic thinking. I am privileged and honored to join with you in an endeavor so important and lasting.
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation