May 9, 2023 - Education

Colonial Williamsburg's evolution seeks to bring more realistic historical experience

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

No more taking goofy pictures in the stocks on Duke of Gloucester Street.

What's happening: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation bolted them closed in 2020 as a COVID-19 safety measure.

  • And it's leaving them that way in recognition that the interactive display was never true to the misery inflicted by the real thing, which the foundation notes meets the dictionary definition of torture.

Why it matters: It's just one small element in the living history museum's effort to "bring its history into the 21st century," per the New York Times, which detailed recent changes at the foundation in a recent article.

Zoom out: The foundation has largely managed to avoid controversy as it works to broaden the scope of the stories it tells to include more Black, Native American and LGBTQ+ history, the Times reports.

  • It's in the process of excavating and reconstructing a sanctuary that was home to one of the earliest Black congregations in the country.
  • And the Times notes Gov. Glenn Youngkin spoke in February at an event centered around the restoration of a school that educated free and enslaved Black children in the late 1700s.

Go deeper: Building a Better Colonial Williamsburg (New York Times).


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