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Our Path to 2026

The year 2026 marks two notable anniversaries: the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America and the 100th anniversary of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. This institution, envisioned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1926, began as an idea to restore the 18th-century town of Williamsburg, creating a center for educating the public about our history. Today, it stands as the world’s largest U.S. history museum and a hub for education, preservation, and research. As the world’s largest U.S. history museum, Colonial Williamsburg is leading the country in the planning for 2026. We are convening the nation’s museums, scholars and educators, and civic leaders to plan a celebration and commemoration that will inspire millions to explore America’s past, reflect on its legacy into the present, and understand their role in safeguarding the nation’s future. At the same time, we are dramatically expanding our efforts in the areas of preservation, education, and civic engagement – the core pillars of our work to discover and share a more complete history of America’s founding. “That the future may learn from the past" -- The mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has never been more important. We invite you to learn more about our path to 2026 and celebrate the many milestone achievements along the way.

2023: A Year in Review

Williamsburg, Virginia

January 3: Colonial Williamsburg launches the Innovation Studios with the goal of becoming the world's largest virtual U.S. history museum.

February 10: The Williamsburg Bray School, the oldest extant structure dedicated to the education of enslaved and free Black children, moves from the campus of William & Mary to Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area.

March 10-12: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation hosts "A Common Cause to All" with delegates from Virginia and 34 other states as the first national planning meeting for the nation's 250th anniversary.

April 23: Groundbreaking ceremony for the Colin G. and Nancy N. Campbell Archaeology Center, which will become the home to many of the Foundation's more than 60 million archaeological artifacts.

August-September: The iconic Goodwin Building is renovated, bringing the Foundation's administration back to its longtime headquarters in Merchants Square, where a new Colonial Williamsburg Bookstore also opens, featuring titles published by the Foundation and its partners.

October 5: Colonial Williamsburg and William & Mary launch the Williamsburg Institute, which provides innovative leadership opportunities rooted in history.

October 12-14: In partnership with Eastern State Hospital and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services, Colonial Williamsburg hosts a series of events to honor 250 years of mental health history.

October 26-28: Colonial Williamsburg, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture, and William & Mary sponsor "Restoring the Indigenous Voice in Museums of Early America," as part of "For 2026" a multi-year conference series.

October 28: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation launches "The Power of Place - the Centennial Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg", a multiyear fundraising initiative.

November 25: The Kimball Theatre reopens, marking the 90th anniversary of opening its doors as an official Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) theatre.

“Colonial Williamsburg is ready to meet these historic moments – our own centennial and our nation’s 250th anniversary – and we invite all of America and the world to join us.”


Williamsburg, Virginia

Spring: The renovated Charlton Stage reopens, the home of Colonial Williamsburg's award-winning theatrical performances.

March 18-20: Colonial Williamsburg hosts the second "A Common Cause to All" national 2026 planning meeting.

Summer: The domain history.org is relaunched, providing a centralized, curated, go-to history and civics curriculum, that teachers in all 50 states can use in their classrooms every day. The site features an American Revolution game created in partnership with iCivics, as well as a collection of animated videos highlighting important moments in history throughout early America.

July 4: Colonial Williamsburg commemorates the nation's birthday.

August 16: Colonial Williamsburg Nation Builder the Marquis de Lafayette begins a series of nationwide events to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his U.S. tour.

Fall: The newly restored Williamsburg Bray School opens to the public.

October: Colonial Williamsburg, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture, and William & Mary host the third "For 2026" conference.

December: Colonial Williamsburg publishes a history of the Bray School, including perspectives from the descendant community.


Williamsburg, Virginia

March 24-26: Colonial Williamsburg hosts the final "A Common Cause to All" national planning 2026 planning meeting.

Spring: Colonial Williamsburg debuts second game created in partnership with iCivics, based on the exploration of democratic systems.

April: The Powder Magazine restoration is completed, marking the 250th anniversary of the Gunpowder Incident and revealing recently discovered details of the building's original appearance.

May: Colonial Williamsburg opens The Bob and Marion Wilson Teacher Institute Center, a headquarters for the largest museum-based teacher instruction program in the nation.

July: Colonial Williamsburg commemorates the the nation's birthday.

October: Colonial Williamsburg, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture, and William & Mary host the fourth "For 2026" conference.

November: Colonial Williamsburg publishes 100 Years of Colonial Williamsburg.

Winter: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation opens the Colin G. and Nancy N. Campbell Archaeology Center, launching a new era in the research program's nearly 100-year history.


Williamsburg, Virginia

Winter: "Colonial Williamsburg: 100 Years" opens at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Spring: Leaders gather in Colonial Williamsburg for a convening on democracy.

Summer: On July 4, Colonial Williamsburg commemorates the 250th anniversary of the nation.

Summer: Colonial Williamsburg publishes a garden-to-table cookbook combining 18th- and 21st-century recipes and culinary practices.

October: The reconstructed first permanent building of First Baptist Church is dedicated at its original location on Nassau Street in Williamsburg. The site, which includes the graves of more than 60 descendants of the church, will open to the public.

October: The Virginia General Assembly meets in Colonial Williamsburg for the first time.

October: Colonial Williamsburg, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture, and William & Mary host the final "For 2026" conference.

Fall: The historic garden of Custis Square is restored, following an extensive archaeological excavation of the site.

November: Colonial Williamsburg, the world’s largest U.S. history museum, celebrates its centennial.

“It is paramount that we as Americans rediscover what brings us together and gives us a common purpose. Join us, so that each American feels a renewed belonging, commitment, and civic zeal as we commemorate our centennial and the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.”