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What’s New

By Bill Sullivan

George Washington lost four pounds playing the ponies as a 27-year old freshman legislator in Williamsburg in 1759.

He wasn’t alone. Horse racing and gambling were favorite pastimes in colonial Virginia.

Large crowds turned out from Virginia’s earliest years to find out who had the fastest horse—and to bet on the outcome.

The races attracted … Continue Reading »

By Karen Gonzalez

In colonial times, spirituals and religious folk songs did more than carry musical messages of faith and hope. For those who were enslaved, they were also a way to communicate.

“One of the challenges that many African-Americans faced was learning which cultural expressions were acceptable by their slave owners and which were not,” … Continue Reading »

The Market House timber frame is now complete, as we prepare for frame raising day early next week. Each timber has been fit into its respective place in the frame to test the joinery, and then numbered with Roman numerals, a system of “marriage marks”, to reposition that timber in the very same place once the … Continue Reading »

By Karen Gonzalez

In the 18th-century, theater thrived in Williamsburg – so much so that it took three venues to accommodate the demand.

Theater manager David Douglass built and furnished the third theater in Williamsburg in 1760 in the traditional English fashion of the time. Located just a few steps from the House of Burgesses, Douglass deduced … Continue Reading »

It has long been customary in Williamsburg to overplant our tulip beds in the fall with species of small, hardy flowering plants that will withstand the rigors of winter to bloom in the spring; first under the tulips and then, when the tulips are exhausted, to succeed them in a glorious ground cover of color.

Continue Reading »

Cancer treatments of the 18th century share much in common with today’s options: surgery to remove tumors, ingestion of systemic poisons to destroy cancer cells, and palliative care when all other options have been exhausted.

Listen to this week’s podcast as Medical Historian Sharon Cotner describes the science and the outcomes surrounding this plaugue both … Continue Reading »