Colonial Williamsburg®

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The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

3D render of three grouped buildings.
Model of the Armoury complex, 1779.

Virtual Williamsburg

A Digital Re-creation of the Historic City

Virtual Williamsburg is a 3D digital re-creation of Williamsburg as it appeared in 1776. Working neighborhood by neighborhood, the 3D modeling team has completed high-detail models of about 20% of the town's buildings. Twenty-one of the structures, selected for their historical significance, also include modeled interior spaces.

3D aerial render.
Aerial re-creation of Williamsburg and its environs, 1776.
3D interior render.
Digital re-creation of R. Charlton's Coffeehouse, 1765.

An Immersive Online Environment

Explore Virtual Williamsburg to see the city as it appeared on May 15, 1776—the day the fifth Virginia Convention, meeting in the Capitol, voted for its delegates to the Continental Congress to propose independence from Great Britain.

An Ongoing Project

Drawing on the accumulated knowledge and experience of Colonial Williamsburg's researchers—including archaeologists, architectural historians, and curators—computer modelers are meticulously reconstructing Williamsburg and its historical landscape. The process of recreating and visualizing the town has become an important research tool for the Foundation's scholars to better understand buildings, objects, and the landscape. New sites currently under development include the Market House and the Everard property, the first fully-domestic site to be modeled.

Leveraging Modern Technologies

Modern technologies, including CAD and 3D modeling software, make an accurate digital re-creation possible. Most buildings and objects are modeled from detailed measurements, but some especially complex objects—such as the life-size statue of Lord Botetourt in the Capitol loggia—are laser-scanned.

All sites are being modeled to reflect their appearance in 1776, but eleven have also been modeled in other time periods to illustrate other significant periods in their development. 3D visualization is an excellent way to visualize change over time, showing Williamsburg's development over the course of the 18th century and the impact of war on the town.



Acknowledgments

Virtual Williamsburg has received generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.
National Endowment for the Humanities
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this web site do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH)

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