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October 29, 2013

Grand Opening of the James Anderson Armoury Site Scheduled Nov. 16

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation celebrates the grand opening of the completed James Anderson Armoury complex Saturday, Nov. 16 in the Revolutionary City with special events scheduled throughout the day and an opening ceremony planned for 3 p.m. which is open to the public.

In 2010, the Foundation’s trades began reconstructing the industrial site that helped forge the American Revolution. The complex now reflects a vibrant hub of activities showcasing the complexity and urgency of mounting the American war effort against Great Britain, the world’s most powerful 18th-century nation.

Made possible by a $5 million gift from trustee Forrest E. Mars Jr., the Revolutionary City’s newest exhibition site started with construction of the buildings, a cooperative task by Colonial Williamsburg’s skilled carpenters, joiners, brickmakers, brickmasons and blacksmiths, and included the addition of a tin shop, a workshop, storage buildings and a kitchen, as well as a new blacksmith shop.

“Forrest Mars’ generosity continues to enhance the Revolutionary City experience and provides our guests with a richer insight into of the lives of men and women who helped win the war and secure the republic,” said Colin G. Campbell, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The Public Armoury will offer immersive military programming while helping guests to better understand the role of war preparations in Williamsburg during the 1700s. It will also provide access to a variety of Historic Trades at a single site.

“The James Anderson Armoury reflects the most important Revolutionary-era military site in Williamsburg, offering guests an entirely different perspective on the role of the city during a critical moment in the history of the Commonwealth and the nation,” 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. “At its peak, a diverse group of more than 40 men worked here, including local smiths, French armorers, Scottish Highlander prisoners of war, American soldiers, enslaved African Americans and young men serving apprenticeships.”

Forrest E. Mars Jr. is director emeritus of Mars, Incorporated and former chief executive officer of the company. Mars, who also funded the $5 million reconstruction of R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse completed in 2009 and has provided $1 million to reconstruct the Market House on Market Square, 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.

Mars will participate in the special opening ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at the James Anderson Armoury.

A convenient schedule of events and a list of program activities is available at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281