Monday, December 4, 2023

This is why this part of Nassau Street is closed, and will be for a while

Those driving around downtown might want to steer clear of roads near the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

In a tweet, the city of Williamsburg announced Nassau Street would be closed because of renovations at the museum, specifically the exterior of the museum’s new entryway — it will close Tuesday.

A section of Nassau Street, located between Francis Street and Newport Avenue, will remain closed through early November.

The renovations of the two art museums, the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, have been in the works for years and the first phase of construction started in 2017.

According to WYDaily archives, as part of the $41.7 million expansion totaling 65,000 square feet, the goal is to make the art museums more accessible to the public.

“With this expansion, we will be building a new entry and wing on Nassau Street that will let you walk straight into the experience with no tunnels, stairs or escalators,” said Ron Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg vice president of collections, conservation and museums during a media tour on March 15, 2018.

In addition to building upgrades like climate control to preserve collections, the renovations also include new galleries, an auditorium, an event space and a new cafe.

Colonial Williamsburg recently received a $1.4 million grant from Dominion Energy to help with the renovations.

“The expansion of Colonial Williamsburg’s two world-renowned art museums is essential to our mission of connecting guests with our shared American story,” said Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Mitchell B. Reiss in an April news release. “The project is funded entirely with philanthropic support and would not be possible without the generosity of Dominion Energy.”

While a section of Nassau Street, located between Francis Street and Newport Avenue will remain closed until the fall, both museums will remain open.

“While S. Nassau Street is closed, parking for museum guests remains available in the lot at the northwest corner of Newport and South Nassau streets, accessible via Newport Street,” Joe Straw, spokesman for Colonial Williamsburg, wrote in an email.

Reiss, who has been CEO of the foundation since 2014, is slated to step down from his position in October of this year.

RELATED STORY: Colonial Williamsburg responds to questions about Mitchell Reiss’s departure — with silence

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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