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Special Gift Opportunities

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Historic Area Programming

Thomas JeffersonThe Revolutionary City

The Revolutionary City draws together programs throughout the Historic Area into a single, compelling story.  Visitors gain insights into daily life, new revolutionary ideas, diverse perspectives of the gentry, working people, women, African Americans, Indians, and the military.  These programs are interactive, compelling, and speak to the importance of the founding principles that continue to shape our democracy. 

Annual costs of $100,000 include story development, training and costuming of the actor/interpreters; we welcome gifts of any size.

Gowan PamphletNation Builders

An extraordinary group of men and women set the compass for America's resistance to Great Britain and fight for independence. To tell their story, Colonial Williamsburg has engaged talented actor/interpreters called Nation Builders. Leading patriots like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington are joined by less well- known free and enslaved individuals who shaped the events that led to the Revolution and a new order. Nation Builders demonstrate that it took men and women of different classes, races, and talents to give birth to America and convey the message that now, as at the time of the Revolution, every American citizen needs to be involved in building and sustaining our nation.

Your support funds ongoing program development and the training and costuming of Nation Builders;
we welcome gifts of any size.

RevQuest: Save the Revolution!

“High Tech Time Travel” is the way the August 1, 2013, Wall Street Journal described Colonial Williamsburg’s game for youngsters called RevQuest: Save the Revolution! The alternative reality game has been developed to appeal to tech-savvy youngsters. They begin the historically accurate game online and continue on-site in Colonial Williamsburg's Revolutionary City. Immersed in Williamsburg during the Revolutionary War, players interact with costumed interpreters and solve clues communicated via personal mobile technology.

Cost of materials such as bandanas, decoder sheets, coins, packets, etc.: $125,000;
we welcome gifts of any size.  

African American ProgrammingAfrican American Programming

Colonial Williamsburg pioneered the development of African American programming. Programs highlight the role of African Americans in the American Revolution, the impact of slavery upon the founding of the American republic, and African Americans' struggle for freedom and full rights as citizens. Our goal is to inspire modern citizens to reflect on the importance of participation in a democratic society to safeguard our rights and the rights of others.

Annual African American program and training costs are $100,000;
we welcome gifts of any size.

Military Encampment and Artillery Park

Colonial Williamsburg guests are invited to join the Virginia State Garrison Regiment military encampment. Seasonal activities include hearing orders of the day, learning about food rations, marching, and practicing 18th-century musket drills.

Funds needed for seasonal staffing and encampment supplies:  $35,000. Specific needs include: dining tent, $2,000; officers’ marquee, $1,760; $370 each; muskets ($3,600 for three; $1,200 each)

A 1781 map of Williamsburg shows French and American military encampments and near the Magazine and Courthouse an Artillery Park for storing and maintaining field pieces.   Soldiers practiced firing guns in or near the compound.   An Artillery Park is in Colonial Williamsburg's plan for expanded military programs.   Generous donors have funded some of the artillery pieces.

Additional artillery needed: 2 light bronze 6-pounder cannons, $26,000 each or $52,000 for a pair;
1 5.5” bronze Howitzer

Special Weekend Programs:

Prelude to ViscotryUnder the Redcoat

Over a three-day weekend, British Army re-enactors invade Colonial Williamsburg's Revolutionary City. Visitors participate in Williamsburg's re-created occupation and martial law imposed by British General Lord Charles Cornwallis near the end of the American Revolution. Young and old gain a sense of the hardships and loss of liberties at the hands of the world's mightiest military power.

Annual re-enactment weekend costs: $15,000.

Historic Area Preservation and Conservation

Masonry Preservation

Masonry repairColonial Williamsburg's masons and Historic Trades brickmakers are repairing brick and stone elements of more than 40 Historic Area structures in 2013-14 including those listed below. Gifts will help fund this vital preservation work.

Booker Tenement - a “middling sort” house on Nicholson Street. Documentary evidence reveals that Richard Booker, carpenter and town constable, was renting out rooms by 1826. Some repair work has begun; additional brick repairs and repointing are estimated to cost $26,000.

William Byrd III House - Located near Merchants Square, this house was built around 1770. William Byrd III was raised at Westover, married first into the wealthy Carter family, and inherited his family's vast lands and slaveholdings. However, he squandered the Byrd fortune by gambling and making bad investments - and committed suicide in 1777. Samuel Griffin acquired the house in 1778. He was a member of the first Congress, which convened in New York in 1789. Both the east and west chimneys require repairs estimated to cost $15,000.

Chiswell Bucktrout House - In 1766, Colonel John Chiswell was accused of killing Robert Rutledge in a tavern brawl. The day before his trial began, he died, rumored to have been by his own hand. Cabinetmaker Benjamin Bucktrout lived and worked in the house in the 1770s. The elongated hip roof of the house is unusual in Williamsburg, but was common in England in the early 1800s. The house and its separate kitchen located on Francis Street are hotel facilities today. A major crack on the north side of the west chimney requires repairs of $17,000.

King's Arms Tavern - For more than 30 years, Jane Vobe operated the King's Arms Tavern in Williamsburg, a place “where all the best people resorted,” according to a French traveler. Patrons included Burgesses, councilors, the governor, and locals. Operating first on Waller Street, then by 1772 on Duke of Gloucester, her tavern was “opposite the Raleigh, at the Sign of the King's Arms.” Jane Vobe supplied American troops with food and drink during the Revolutionary War, and at some point changed the tavern name to The Eagle. Colonial Williamsburg is seeking $17,000 to repair a chimney crack.

Benjamin Powell House - Benjamin Powell, probably the son of a middling planter, became a successful “undertaker” (contractor). During his career, he repaired the Public Gaol, Capitol, and Governor's Palace, built the Public Hospital and the tower on Bruton Parish Church, and worked on soldiers' barracks in 1776. He purchased the Benjamin Powell House on Waller Street in 1763 and sold it in 1782. Today, the house is open for school groups where youngsters participate in hands-on activities, often led by junior interpreters. We seek $7,000 for chimney repairs and repointing.

Historic Trades

setting type18th-century Type for the Print Shop

Historic Trades printers use traditional lead-based type to print reproduction documents on their 18th-century-style press.   With use, the type wears out, requiring its replacement. While once a common material, this type is no longer used commercially, and Colonial Williamsburg has only one source of supply, Quaker City Type Foundry in Pennsylvania.   While type is still available, Colonial Williamsburg hopes to obtain as much as possible.  

Gifts of any size are welcome to purchase type to have on hand for printing broadsides, booklets, and pamphlets.

Historic Trades Summer Internships

Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Trades program is one of the largest museum-operated trades program in the world and one of the most historically accurate, with an emphasis on hands-on practice and documentary research.   Colonial Williamsburg currently practices 30 trades at more than 20 sites. Internships offer interested individuals three-month experiences to learn about the trade(s), develop skills, gain public contact and service experience, and acquire insights about museum and living history careers.

Funds needed for 4 summer interns:  $20,000

Historic Area Needs

shoesHistoric Area Costuming Accessories

More than 800 Colonial Williamsburg employees work in costume in the Historic Area, taverns, period stores, and special programs.   Keeping them attired in reproduction 18th-century clothing and accessories is the responsibility of the Costume Design Center.   Accessories include new and replacement eyewear and shoes; the goal is authenticity of appearance.   Interpreters requiring eyeglasses are issued period-appropriate frames fitted with their prescriptions. Interpreters' shoe styles vary to reflect the different life styles of 18th-century Williamsburg society. Colonial Williamsburg shoemakers make some shoes while others are manufactured in England and the U.S.; each pair costs approximately $125.

Funds needed: $52,000 for annual shoe expenses and $5,000 for eyeglasses.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library

DocumentDocuments of Freedom Fund

The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library collections include items of great significance about the American Revolution in Williamsburg and Virginia. Among them are a copy of William Stone's 1823 facsimile of the Declaration of Independence; autographs of the signers of the Declaration;published works relating to the debate over American rights; and an original manuscript of Patrick Henry's 1765 Stamp Act Resolves. With additional gift funds, Colonial Williamsburg will acquire additional rare books, manuscripts, letters, newspapers, treatises, broadsides, diaries, declarations of rights, state constitutions, and other documents that illuminate British and American views during this formative period in America's history. Having funds on hand, Colonial Williamsburg will be able to respond quickly when a document becomes available.

Gifts of any size are welcome.

Collections, Conservation, and Museum Exhibitions

Cases for Wolstenholme Towne Metal Artifacts

Climate-controlled display cases are needed to protect fragile metal objects found at Carter's Grove's Wolstenholme Towne settlement. Excavated in 1976, the iron artifacts include domestic, agricultural, and military items, including helmets, pieces of armor, swords, gun parts, hoes, draw-knife, fireplace tong, and buttons. The objects are rare survivors that provide context for items found at Jamestown.

Funds needed: $12,000.

High Chest“Style, Function and Price: Buying Furniture in Early America”

This exhibition opening in 2015 will showcase Colonial Williamsburg's world-class collection of 18th-century furniture. The exhibition will allow visitors to pose as colonial consumers, exploring furniture style, construction, decoration, and price. Audio/video tours will permit guests to delve more deeply into these topics at their own pace.

Funds needed: $150,000.


Digital Projector for Wallace Collections and Conservation Building

The Collections and Conservation Building's conference room is used for staff meetings, conference reports, presentation practice sessions, and webinar participation. The existing portable projector does not accurately project digital images and is often unavailable. A digital projector will enable the Conservation Department to illustrate their treatments accurately and be available for use by Collections, Conservation and Museums staff, donor groups, and outside visitors.

A mountable digital projector costs $1,800; adding a universal mount for $65 and a large screen for $75 would bring the total cost to $1,940.

Equipment: Laser Cleaner

Surgical lasers have become a valuable addition to the conservator's toolbox for cleaning historic and art object surfaces, such as sculptures, and monuments. Unlike traditional cleaning methods, lasers preserve patina, fine surface detail, and surface coatings.   Colonial Williamsburg hopes to acquire a Lynton “Compact Phoenix” Conservation Laser Cleaning system, a small handheld laser connected to a desktop power supply. A laser cleaner will be useful for many conservators; in the objects lab, for example, it will allow for the easy removal of staining from ceramic objects. Our architectural conservator will be able to use it to safely and quickly clean the heavily used stone and brick steps and architectural walkways in the Historic Area.

Funds to acquire this equipment: $50,000.

Productions, Publications,
and Learning Ventures - Educational Outreach

Connect Webcast

Sponsor a Colonial Williamsburg Connect webcast that encourages online discussion and debate about how the nation's principles came to be, what it takes to sustain them, and why this is critical. The website ( includes video and audio documentaries and commentary on current issues and encourages audience participation.

A gift of $7,500 funds one webcast.

Teachers and studentsHERO Makes History Come Alive

HERO is Colonial Williamsburg's online multimedia library of history education resources developed for teachers and students in grades 4 to 8. HERO features programs from Colonial Williamsburg’s award-winning Electronic Field Trip Series and includes videos, student web activities, and teacher lesson plans available for on-demand instruction. Students in schools subscribed to HERO have access to exclusive interactivity throughout the school year on our message board. Also, during the seven live Electronic Field Trip broadcasts, they can email a character from the program, phone in questions to a panel of characters and historians, participate in our instant feedback poll, and join in the conversation on Twitter.

A gift of $250 provides a school with a yearlong subscription to the HERO multimedia library.

Teachers InstituteFund a Scholarship to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute 

Give a teacher the opportunity to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, a week-long professional development program that immerses teachers in early American history. Lodging, meals, and a wealth of instructional materials are included.   To date, more than 6,000 educators have completed the program, returning to their classrooms better prepared to teach American history and citizenship.

A $2,200 gift plus funds for transportation (or frequent flyer miles) will send a teacher to Williamsburg for a week's experience that many past teacher participants have defined as “transformative."

Sponsor a Teaching American History Conference

Help Colonial Williamsburg bring living history experiences to teachers in their school districts through lively and informative 1- or 2-day conferences. During the workshop, educators explore historical content, analyze primary sources, participate in simulations, and role play with Colonial Williamsburg's character interpreters. Teachers have a rich experience and also receive lesson plans, facsimile primary sources, reproduction artifacts, and one live Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip broadcast to their classrooms.  

A $30,000 gift provides up to 75 teachers from your school district (or another district) with this workshop to increase their history knowledge and acquire lesson plans and classroom resources.

Bringing Colonial Williamsburg to You: Podcasts/Vodcasts 

Visitors to Colonial Williamsburg's website,, can sample the 18th- and 21st-centuries by downloading podcasts, 15-minute audio programs. Using podcast software, such as iTunes or iPodder, podcasts (audio interviews) and vodcasts (video interviews) are downloadable at the listener's convenience and played on a computer or portable media player. Weekly interviews are conversational, informational, and cover a wide range of topics. The programs take you behind the scenes to meet historical interpreters, musicians, tradesmen, curators, chefs, historians, and more.

A gift of $40,000 provides weekly podcasts and vodcasts for a year. We welcome gifts of any size.

Kids ZoneKids Zone

Kids Zone, an award-winning Web site developed for five-to-ten-year-olds, makes learning history fun and interactive. Illustrated characters guide young viewers through games, activities, and resources about colonial American life. Children can create and send electronic postcards; play games about historic trades, rare animal breeds, archaeology, gardening, and the American founders; write with a quill pen; solve word searches; beat a drum to music played by Colonial Williamsburg Fifers and Drummers; or dress an 18th-century paper doll. They use a 3D map to "Tour the Town" to see where people lived and worked. Special "zoomable" slideshows offer detailed views of historic documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Annual funding needed is $50,000; your gift of any size is welcome.


  • 18th-Century Fun for Kids edited by Colonial Williamsburg editor Amy Watson. Games and activities, rhymes and riddles, stories and songs, and more. Funds needed: $25,000.
  • History is Served by Colonial Williamsburg Foodways staff. An overview of 18th-century foodways, including techniques, equipment, and a sampling of recipes with modern adaptations. Funds needed: $40,500.
  • If We Don't Tell the Story, Who Will? by Colonial Williamsburg researcher Ywone Edwards-Ingram. A history of African-American interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg, featuring interviews with interpreters and profiles of the historical figures they play. Funds needed: $37,500.

General Support

Kimball Theatre Programming Endowment Fund

The Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg's Merchants Square offers excellent entertainment seven days a week. A first-rate movie house for more than six decades, the theater has become a favorite venue for Williamsburg's artistic, educational, religious, and cultural events.   Visitors can listen to Colonial Williamsburg patriots such as George Washington and Patrick Henry, and musical and dramatic productions. Founding and sustaining benefactors are publicly recognized on permanent plaques in the theater's lobby.  

A gift of $5,000 will ensure that your name is listed as a major contributor.

To make a special gift to Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-888-CWF-1776 or email

Matching Gifts Make Your Donation Go Further  
If your company has a matching gift program, your donation to Colonial Williamsburg may be doubled or even tripled.   Find out if Colonial Williamsburg qualifies for your company's matching gift program