At this, the end of the Coffeehouse Reconstruction, we wanted to share some closing reflections from a few staff members who were involved in the project:
Associate Curator, Textiles & Historic Interiors
The reconstruction and furnishing of the Charlton Coffeehouse has truly been a team effort by the Foundation's archaeologists, architects, engineers, historians, carpenters, tradesmen, conservators, and--more recently--the curatorial staff (to name just some of the folks involved.) The curators' goal was for the furnishings and room arrangements to tell a story and to identify the function of each space. We know that we've been successful if a visitor walking into a room immediately recognizes the activities that took place in that space. It was a pleasure and an honor working with so many talented and skilled coworkers.
Supervisor of Historic Masonry Trades
The Coffeehouse has meant a tremendous amount to the Brickyard. It provides a natural connection for folks who visit the Brickyard to find out how bricks, mortar, and plaster are made to a sight where they can see the finished product in use. At the end of an interpretation I often ask people if they have toured the Coffeehouse yet and many of them have. When I tell them that about 10,000 bricks from the Brickyard were used in its reconstruction they are impressed. When I add the fact that much of the mortar and plaster was also made in the Brickyard out of oyster shells burned on site, folks often leave with a new appreciation for the level of authenticity we put in to projects like this one. I am glad to see it finished and I can't wait to start the next building.
Associate Digital Content Specialist
The Coffeehouse Reconstruction has been one of the most interesting projects I've worked on here at Colonial Williamsburg, fascinating and exciting throughout, and I feel lucky to have been here during such an eventful process.
The scope of the project has meant that departments who may not have had that much interaction on a regular basis got the chance to work together closely. Personally, it gave me the opportunity to work with a wide variety of staff members from across the Foundation, from Architecture and Engineering, to Historic Trades, to Maintenance, and Marketing, to name but a few. My fellow staff members have shown themselves to be both both knowledgeable and very helpful, and I gained a notably better appreciation for how the various components of the Foundation fit together.
Perhaps more unexpectedly, the Coffeehouse project also brought me into contact with a great number of people from outside the Foundation. Working on the Coffeehouse webcam and blog gave me the opportunity to interact with many enthusiastic members of the public. Though we had planned an online aspect for the project all along, we were still amazed by the level of interest shown in the webcam and blog updates. Better yet, the Internet gave me the chance to correspond with many fans of the project, whether by e-mail or through the blog, and even meet a number of them in person.
As this may well be the last blog update, I wanted to again thank everyone for all of your interest in the Coffeehouse Reconstruction. Your involvement and enthusiasm has made working on the blog and the webcam deeply enjoyable – I appreciated every single e-mail and blog post, even when it was to let me know that the camera was mysteriously dark, or to ask a question whose answer I didn't know. I especially enjoyed those chances to meet some of you in person.
Ultimately, I'd like to thank you for helping to make the Coffeehouse website such a success. I hope that we have started a precedent for future projects of this kind here at Colonial Williamsburg.
Thanks again, and Happy New Year!