Williamsburg Museums

museumThere’s history galore in Williamsburg, of course. So it follows quite naturally that visitors will want to visit at least one of our town’s marvelous museums. From Colonial Williamsburg itself (yes, it’s considered a “living” history museum), to the decorative arts, the fine arts and even a museum dedicated to those men and women who fished the sea and bays around the Chesapeake Bay, you’ll find it here in Williamsburg.

First, fishermen. The Waterman’s Museum captures the story of the fishermen who made their living on and around the Chesapeake Bay. It’s mission, according to its website is to “demonstrate the role that Chesapeake Bay watermen played in the shaping of our nation through a historical display of crafts and methods of their trade.”

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The museum is located in Yorktown’s RiverWalk shopping and dining area and it provides visitors with a lovely, fascinating overview of how watermen plied their trade in the past and today. You’ll never look at that fresh-caught fish on your plate the same way again.

The decorative arts — textiles, clothing, furniture, firearms, portraits, tools, ceramics, silver, etc — can open our eyes into how our ancestors lived. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum on Francis Street in Williamsburg showcases an extensive collection of British and American antiques from the 17th-19th centuries. Don’t let the museum’s small size when viewed from the street fool you: much of the museum is located underground and is much larger than it appears.

If it’s art from the world over you’re looking for, then be sure to get yourself over to the Muscarelle Museum of Art on the campus of the College of William and Mary. The museum offers visitors approximately 4,000 works, including American and English portraits and Native American pottery (the museum’s specialties). You’ll also find Asian ceramics, American prints and drawings from the 17th-18th centuries, African art, abstract expressionist paintings and so much more. In addition, admission to the museum is free.

But perhaps Williamsburg’s best-known, best-loved and even best museum of all is Colonial Williamsburg. Come visit and transport yourself back in time to our nation’s Colonial era as you walk among the museum’s 173 acres and 500 public buildings, homes, inns and taverns. Walking (and peeking into windows) is free, but if you want to enter any of the historic buildings, gardens, demonstrations or trade shops, you will need to purchase a Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket/pass. Ask your Innkeeper about discounted rates available to B&B Network Members! Many Williamsburg experts recommend a visit of at least two or three days, as there’s much to see and do. And, if at all, possible, be sure to visit during the holidays: Colonial Williamsburg goes all out at Christmas. It’s truly not to be missed.

History can feel as if it’s really come alive when you visit our lovely city. We hope you’ll stay with one of the members of our Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast Network. We know they’ll be happy to direct you to the museum or historical site of your choice. Just ask!

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