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The Quist

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Sep 7, 2018
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I was so mad when I realized you can actually walk around Colonial Williamsburg without paying a dime. Apparently you only have to pay if you want to go inside certain places or do the 'experience'. Can anyone actually confirm that is true? When we did the ghost tour recently we were able to walk the streets, just not go into any of the houses/shops.
 
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That's true. You don't need to pay a cent to walk around CW. However, some buildings (like the Governor's Palace) are definitely worth seeing the inside of at least once.
 
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It seems like only a year ago or so, they were more than 300 million in debt, and had declining attendance. I couldn't, and still can't understand what on Earth they did to get that far in the hole. It seems most of their capital assets are already there and built, and all they have is wages and upkeep.
 

Jonesta6

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Wonder how much of the problem is personnel, how much is capital maintenance and/or improvement (restorations, etc), how much is marketing/advertising, and how much is something else.
 
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I went to this as a kid and remember being completely bored out of my mind and complaining a lot. Haha. Maybe I'd appreciate it more now. Not sure.
 
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Lolers

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I definitely appreciate it more as an adult. Although I'd appreciate it even more if it had a place with decent coffee.
 
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It seems that they are really good at what they do, with presenting and working trades. As an adult, I've found it a little puzzling how they work the range of historical interpreters. Some costumed people don't break character, some just straight out talk as modern people explaining how things were, and some seem to be acting halfway colonial, but savy to the modern world.
 

The Quist

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I did some research after my last visit, as I just assumed that the strip had looked that way since the eighteenth century but apparently that area was basically dead for a long time. I had no idea that the Williamsburg we see today has only been that way since the 50s.
 
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After the capital of Virginia was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond in the 1780s, Williamsburg went into serious decline. By the 1920s when Rockefeller started getting involved in Williamsburg, the area that was (and is once again) Colonial Williamsburg was nothing more than farmland and ruins. IIRC, the ruins of the Magazine were being used as a barn. The Capitol and Governor's Palace had both been gone for over a hundred years. Without CW being restored, Williamsburg today would be unrecognizable.
 

Luke

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It seems like only a year ago or so, they were more than 300 million in debt, and had declining attendance. I couldn't, and still can't understand what on Earth they did to get that far in the hole. It seems most of their capital assets are already there and built, and all they have is wages and upkeep.

As someone who use to work there for 20 years I can say it's because of years of mismanagement. Also, taking care of everything (upkeeps) takes allot of money. And not enough attendance to pay for everything.


Wonder how much of the problem is personnel, how much is capital maintenance and/or improvement (restorations, etc), how much is marketing/advertising, and how much is something else.

An example of a completely moronic decision they did is to completely cut the marketing budget to zero. Decisions like that over the years have brought the foundation to its current state.
 

The Quist

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If it is a non-profit organization, don't their books have to have a zero balance at the end of the year?
 

Zimmy

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You can walk around because they are public streets, so Colonial Williamsburg can't close them off or charge admission.

Not to mention there is a Public University Partially located in the Colonial section. Lets not forget W&M is not a reconstruction, the Ancient Campus is very real and still, at least partially, still in use.

My understanding is that they are having financial difficulties and probably need to increase revenues.

I also think the experiences and interiors are worth paying for.

That is certainly what the paper said and what I have also heard. And you are right is totally is worth it. (Easy for me to say, as a W&M alum I get in for free... Which I suppose is part of the problem)

I definitely appreciate it more as an adult. Although I'd appreciate it even more if it had a place with decent coffee.

The campus bookstore is a Barnes and Noble. Upstairs there is a snack bar and Barnes and Noble Cafe. Coffee is typical B&N fair and not bad.

I did some research after my last visit, as I just assumed that the strip had looked that way since the eighteenth century but apparently that area was basically dead for a long time. I had no idea that the Williamsburg we see today has only been that way since the 50s.

Yes, only the William and Mary parts stayed in operation. It is also noting that during the Civil War the area recived some harsh treatment. I could be wrong, but I seem to recall part of the University burned.

If it is a non-profit organization, don't their books have to have a zero balance at the end of the year?

Not exactly. They can not show profit, that does not mean they can not maintain capital and capital growth. So if there were a time where they were in the positive range at the end of the year that could be rolled over to the next year or held as a reserve. For tax purposes nothing changes that way.
 
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