WILLIAMSBURG — The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) has announced that it has renewed its partnership with William & Mary (WM) in financially supporting the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture.
The Omohundro Institute (OI) performs independent scholarly research into early American history and culture. It was founded as two separate institutions in 1943 and is now considered one of the leading research centers for historical research into all aspects of American history.
“Renewing our relationship with the Omohundro Institute, in partnership with William & Mary, allows us to greatly expand our relevance and educational reach through this internationally renowned research institution,” said President and CEO CWF Cliff Fleet. “The OI’s Executive Director Karin Wulf was instrumental in restoring the partnership. Thanks to her tireless work to re-establish this important relationship, we are once again combining our resources to advance scholarship and understanding of the formation of our country and its impact on today.”
An Oct. 8 release from CWF states that among the partnership’s priorities is the development of “For 2026;” a conference series which will lead up to the semiquincentennial of the United States. Beginning next year, five annual meetings will be held to spotlight emerging research, connect scholars with each other and the public, as well as to host “significant conversations” about how and why understanding America’s formative past is vital today.
“For 2026 is committed to an expansive, inclusive history of early America that accounts for the diversity of people and experiences of the revolutionary period,” said Wulf. “Each year will provide forums for significant new knowledge about this essential period in both scholar-to-scholar and scholar-to-public forums.”
The OI consists of thirty-three staff members Wulf has served as the executive director of the Institute for the past eight years, but will leave on Oct. 15 for a new position as the Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
The CWF release notes that the OI’s current Editor of Books Catherine Kelly will serve as interim director while the Institute conducts a search for Wulf’s successor.
“Leading the Omohundro Institute has been a tremendous privilege and I am grateful to leave it poised for even greater achievements,” said Wulf. “The renewal of our relationship with Colonial Williamsburg, coupled with the continued strong support of William & Mary, is sure to bring many new opportunities for all.”
The partnership agreement between WM and CWF will include joint funding for a new position to oversee initiatives between the two. Dr. Ann Marie Stock of WM serves as Presidential Liaison for Strategic Cultural Partnerships. In this role, Dr. Stock will work closely with Fleet and WM President Katherine A. Rowe while leading projects associated with the OI as well as the Williamsburg Bray School Initiative and other joint projects and ventures.
“This expanded partnership offers extraordinary potential,” said Dr. Stock. “By coming together in new ways, we will leverage our unique resources to explore the history of our community, the Commonwealth and our nation — and we will do so with a marvelous array of combined tools.”
Dr. Stock, as well as her staff, will establish an office space provided by CWF at the historic Travis House, which is noted as built by a member of the House of Burgesses at the northeast corner of Francis and Henry streets.