Explore our city on the verge of revolution and meet the men and women who helped make America.
Listen to the stories of British and American military forces in Virginia as you explore the site where military equipment was stored. This building was constructed in 1715 as storage for the arms and ammunition dispatched from London for the defense of the colony. Just before the Revolution, it was the scene of a famous confrontation between Williamsburg residents and the royal governor, when his soldiers absconded with the colony's gunpowder.
Thieves, runaway slaves, debtors, and political prisoners once paced the cells of the Public Gaol as they waited to be tried - or hanged. Perhaps its most notorious inmates were several pirates who had served under Blackbeard and were captured with him in 1718. Self-guided exploration of the cells where prisoners were held as they awaited trial and punishment.
The Geddys were a talented family. They included gunsmiths, cutlers, founders, and silversmiths among their number. On the spot where they lived and worked, watch founders cast and finish buckles, knobs, bells, spoons, and other objects in bronze, brass, pewter, and silver.
The work of a colonial gunsmith united many skills, from forging iron to working wood. A careful eye and steady hand ensured each firearm would work as expected once assembled. Today, our gunsmiths use the tools and techniques of their 18th-century predecessors to make rifles, pistols, and fowling pieces.
The Revolutionary War wasn't won through battles alone. To keep pace with the might of British industry, Virginia desperately needed a new armoury. Watch our blacksmiths take red-hot iron from the fires of their forges and hammer it into a variety of tools, hardware, and weapons.
Weapons of War offers students, military historians and antique collectors the chance to learn about the various types of arms and accoutrements that came to America during this formative period. From the archaeologically recovered fragments which tell us what was really used during the Revolutionary period to the conservation of surviving artifacts, we will explore a diverse array of materials and ways of appreciating them through modern eyes.
Colonial Williamsburg’s extensive collection of military weaponry will illustrate the arming of American, British, French, and Hessian troops during the War for Independence. During the first half of the 18th century, firearms in the colonies were a mix of the obsolete, the old and the odd.
The distinctive collections of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum are located under one roof.
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.