Virtual Williamsburg is an interactive model of Williamsburg on May 15, 1776, currently in progress. We are very appreciative of the grant funding that has helped support its development and Colonial Williamsburg’s 3D modeling efforts.

The Virtual Williamsburg project began in 2006 with a one-year planning study, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to explore 3D modeling techniques for recreating an entire town. The pilot project, which was done in collaboration with The University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), demonstrated the effectiveness of 3D modeling for visualizing a historical site.

In 2008 the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in partnership with IATH, received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to model the “Revolutionary City” neighborhood, or Williamsburg’s east end. The Duke of Gloucester Street from Botetourt to Eastern Street (Waller Street today) was reconstructed virtually to provide a fresh interpretation of an area of Williamsburg that served as the backdrop for critical events leading to the American Revolution. Five principal sites were reconstructed as highly-detailed 3D virtual models, interior and exterior: the Capitol, the Public Records Office, the Dickson Store (today R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse), the Raleigh Tavern, and the Old Playhouse. In addition, the exteriors of 26 other buildings and the historic landscape within the project area were virtually recreated.

Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) under a Digital Humanities Initiative Challenge Grant, the estate of Mark Hicks, the Grainger Foundation, the estate of John O’Donnell, the estate of Joan J. Woods, and many others have all contributed to establishing a permanent 3D Visualization Lab in the Foundation’s Digital History Center. The 3D Visualization Lab has already begun modeling the neighborhood encompassing James Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop & Public Armoury, and will continue modeling it and other important neighborhoods. In the future we will explore modeling other important revolutionary cities.

We would also like to thank the College of William & Mary and Abingdon Episcopal Church in Gloucester for allowing us to scan architectural features at their sites for incorporation in the virtual model.

We are extremely grateful for all of the generous support we have received.

IMLS 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.

NEH Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this web site do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mellon Foundation