Colonial Williamsburg plans to commemorate Black History Month in February with a range of research, interpretation and other programming examining the lives of enslaved and free early Black Americans in the city.
“The journey for the Black citizens of Williamsburg to gain equal protections under the law has continued since the city’s founding in 1699,” said Stephen Seals, Colonial Williamsburg actor-interpreter, program manager and community liaison, in a news release announcing the slate of programs and events. “To have the opportunity to share this story with the wider world is the reason so many of us work in the museum field, and we invite guests to join us as we examine our past together.”
Highlights include the ongoing archaeological investigation of the original permanent site of the city’s historic First Baptist Church on South Nassau Street. In January, Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists, working under the guidance of the church and its descendant community, began the second, 18-month phase of excavation of the site.
Excavation continues weekdays throughout February — weather-permitting — from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
February will also feature the second program in the new, monthly “US: Past, Present, Future” discussion series. This month’s program, “Residents Not Citizens” will stream live on Colonial Williamsburg’s website and Facebook page on Feb. 20 at 4 p.m.
Bobby Braxton, former city council member; Janice Canaday, Colonial Williamsburg interpreter, supervisor and longtime generational city resident; and Brian J. Smalls, local attorney and former president of the York-James City-Williamsburg NAACP Branch are scheduled to participate.
Colonial Williamsburg will also continue to showcase its year-round character interpretation and programming examining the true stories of the enslaved and free Black people of the 18th century at 1:30 p.m. daily in the Hennage Auditorium at the Art Museums.
The Art Museums are also offering self-guided tours featuring objects crafted by Black artists and artisans.
Other programs at the Art Museums include special “Expert Insights” on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. throughout February, and “A Quilter’s Housetop” Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m., in which guests celebrate the life of Alabama quilter Susana Allen Hunter and make a mini-quilt to take home.
The Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center is currently closed to guests for use as a temporary regional COVID-19 vaccination center. Visitors are encouraged to park for free in the Art Museum of Colonial Williamsburg lot located at South Nassau Street and Newport Avenue next to Bicentennial Park.
The Art Museums building, located at 301 S. Nassau St. will open its doors at 9:15 a.m. daily to allow access to the ticket office and restrooms prior to the Art Museums’ regular 10 a.m. opening. The Museum Café will also be open during this time to serve guests.
Colonial Williamsburg ticket services remain available from 9:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. daily in the Historic Area at the Lumber House on the south side of Duke of Gloucester Street near the foot of Palace Green.
Site operations and programming are subject to change to ensure compliance with state COVID-19 guidelines. Face coverings are required while inside Colonial Williamsburg Foundation-owned buildings and their use is encouraged outdoors as well, and guests are asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Additional guest comfort and safety guidelines may be found here.
All sites and programs are open to guests with Colonial Williamsburg or Art Museums admission except “A Quilter’s Housetop,” which requires a special $5 ticket in addition to Colonial Williamsburg or Art Museums Admission.
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