WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – A groundbreaking ceremony for a new archaeology center was held in Colonial Williamsburg on April 21.
The Colin G. and Nancy N. Campbell Archaeology Center, named after the former Colonial Williamsburg President and his wife, will be built across from the Art Museums and next to Custis Square.
The center will be publicly accessible daily and plans to include lab and classroom spaces where guests can observe and learn more about archaeology and take part in hands-on activities.
This project is significant for the foundation as they get ready to commemorate America’s 250th anniversary in 2026.
“The Campbell Archaeology Center will be a world-class facility that befits Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeological collection,” said Jack Gary, director of archaeology for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “It will provide new access for guests and scholars alike to some of the artifacts that have shaped our understanding of Williamsburg. This facility allows us to show guests a side of archaeological research that most people don’t see — the process of discovery inside the lab.”
Gary said that while visitors to Colonial Williamsburg often see his team out uncovering pieces of history, much of the process of examining and interpreting those artifacts is done behind the scenes.
He hopes the center can peel back the curtain on that.
“This new facility will provide the opportunity for us to show our guests, really, the other half – and it’s even more than half – I’d say the other 60% of archaeological research goes on behind the scenes,” Gary said, ” and this facility will be open to the public and they can see what we do after we’re done in the field. And then we can showcase the process of archaeology, educate our guests on how we do archaeology, but also, how do we get to the conclusions that we come to.”
Although the foundation has received gift from donors, funding is needed to complete the project. The new center’s targeted opening date is in 2025.
Gary said this will be a site that should be on every visitor’s list, and it will be a place of learning for students who visit.
“We’ve designed this facility for multiple different audiences, including our everyday guests here at Colonial Williamsburg,” Gary said. “So the facility will be open to our guests seven days a week. … They can walk into the archaeology center and there will be a variety of different experiences that they can have, from a passive experience of just seeing us do our work, to guided tours through the facility to even hands-on activities that we’re planning to have as well.”
If you are interested in making a donation to the project or would like to learn more information, email email@example.com.