Colonial Williamsburg Research Division Web Site

Architectural Research at Colonial Williamsburg


Carl Lounsbury investigates evidence for the chief
magistrate’s chair at the Prince William County
Courthouse.

Architectural research has been central to the mission of Colonial Williamsburg from its inception. The reconstruction of hundreds of buildings in the Historic Area was only possible through the meticulous study of colonial-era architecture. Today, the stewardship of our historic structures continues to demand a detailed understanding of eighteenth-century design and construction practices.

The department’s growing knowledge of early American buildings is based on field and documentary research in the Chesapeake and throughout the former British colonies. For over three quarters of a century, the Architectural Research Department has developed a detailed record of early American buildings that is without equal. In addition to our work in support of the Historic Area, the department brings its knowledge of early American building to a wider audience through public presentations, scholarly publications, and college-level teaching.

Summer 2014 Architectural Field School