Apothecaries used ingredients from all over the world to compound 18th-century medicines. Join us to explore these ingredients and help make these medicines, based on official receipts found in dispensatories and pharmacopeias published by the Royal Colleges of London and Edinburg.
Visit the gunsmiths and see them weld a flat bar of iron into a seamless tube to make a rifle barrel using the same type tools, technology, and raw materials as were used in the 18th century.
Watch the historic wigmakers construct a queue — a false attachment that men and gentlemen could purchase — from start to finish using 18th-century techniques. Long hair was the fashion, and if a gentleman couldn’t grow their own hair long or purchase a fashionable wig, then a queue (a false tail) was the perfect solution. Discover the importance of fashion in society both then and now, ask questions about these extensions, handle the materials, and even try on a hairpiece.
Try your hand at weaving in this 2-hr class for all levels of experience. You will learn some of the history behind weaving in Williamsburg at the time of the Revolution to spark your patriotic homespun spirit. This class is taught on pre-warped modern looms, on which you will be able to pass the shuttle back-and-forth to build up a cotton tea towel to take home. All the necessary supplies will be provided in this workshop, including care instructions for your handwoven towel.Learn More
Participants in this one-hour mini workshop will be guided through an exploration of leather craft techniques by the staff of the Public Leather Works Program. Each participant will produce for themselves a beautiful and useful high quality steer hide waist belt. All materials, hardware, and supplies are included in the ticket price. As this class requires the use of sharp tools, it is restricted to accompanied teens and adults and is not recommended for children. Classes will meet at 9:30 a.m. in the Armoury yard, weather permitting.Learn More
A building’s architecture is a language that few can speak. Learn what the Governor’s Palace is trying to tell you with our historic Joiners as your guides. Join them to hear about the building’s past and present, and the architecture of the greater 18th-century world.
This tour is exclusively for annual pass holders and hotel guests. A free reservation ticket is required.
A one-hour walking tour highlighting some of the important buildings in the center of town, stories of their construction and the men that built them. This tour will be led by a member of the Historic Trades Carpentry Program and will focus on 18th-century construction methods, regulations, and the town plan. Exclusively for annual pass holders and hotel guests.
Discover the variety in one the traditional woodworker’s most indispensable tools: the hand plane. An inventory shows that Williamsburg cabinetmaker Edmund Dickinson had “81 planes of various sorts” when he died in 1778. Join our cabinetmakers as they demonstrate the breadth of work done with these tools, from making boards flat and smooth to creating precise structural joinery and shapely moldings. Plus, try your hand at planing away some shavings yourself. Exclusively for annual pass holders and hotel guests.
Tour the town through the eyes of our brickmakers as they share the stories behind the buildings. We'll discuss architecture, historic structures, and ongoing preservations efforts. Exclusively for annual pass holders and hotel guests.Learn More
Learn about decorative pruning of fruit trees in the 18th-century. Join the Historic Trades Gardeners in discussing fruit tree varieties, as well as establishing fruit trees in a gentleman’s garden. We'll look at examples of trees in training using the espalier technique and discuss step by step instructions to use on your trees at home. Exclusively for annual pass holders and hotel guests.Learn More
From turned, green wood chairs to elaborate marquetry pieces, pre-industrial furniture in America took many forms and sprang from numerous traditions. With each tradition came different sets of tools, shop structures, and approaches to solving problems in a common material: wood. For this annual conference, we have brought together an impressive group of presenters to speak to some of these different traditions with an emphasis on shops and tools.
The fun doesn't end just because the sun sets. Whether you're looking for some drama or to be spooked, there's something to entertain you.
With a mixture of restaurants, bars, lounges, and cafés located in and around the Historic Area, you’ll find the perfect place for a historically-inspired family meal or an intimate evening of creative cuisine.