Living Classroom

Colonial Williamsburg and William & Mary are the vibrant epicenters of living history! Unlike conventional classroom education, the Institute's immersive programs transport learners into historic settings, allowing them to interact with key historical figures (Performance Historians) amid the very locations where the pivotal discussions and debates that shaped our nation occurred. It's a journey of learning from the past to illuminate our present and guide us toward a sustainable future!



The Place

Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony and played a significant role in the lead-up to the American Revolution. By examining the historical context and events of the time, one can gain a deeper appreciation for the principles of liberty, democracy, and self-governance that underpin the United States.

There is no more appropriate place to examine leadership steps for the 21st century than in Williamsburg – the world’s largest living history site - home to authenticity and knowledge and the birthplace of American representative government. Be transformed in your learning experience through the "power of place” that is Colonial Williamsburg and the historic campus of William & Mary.

Experience the power of place!


The People

Williamsburg was the place where figures like Thomas Jefferson, Ann Wager, James Madison, and Gowan Pamphlet lived and worked and found their lives intertwined. Joined by George and Martha Washington, Patrick Henry, and the Marques de Lafayette, they all found themselves role-modeling “leadership,” however unwittingly, each in their own way, within their own spheres of influence, and forming the beginnings of a nation in the process. They were people encouraging others to take an active role in thinking about the future.

The people who lived in Williamsburg during the colonial era and played significant roles in shaping the founding principles of the United States hold immense importance in the nation's history. Be part of the conversation with the world’s preeminent American colonial "performance historians" as they teach lessons about laying the groundwork for the principles upon which the nation was founded. In every Williamsburg Institute learning experience, feel the “power of people” as you engage with them in the very places where they lived and worked.

Experience transformative conversations!


The Knowledge

Williamsburg was a hub of intellectual and political activity during the colonial era. It was a place where prominent founding figures were educated at William & Mary and lived in the city where ideas about individual rights, representation, and governance were debated. The debates and discussions were essential in shaping the nation's founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Civil discourse was central to these processes, as it allowed people with differing views and perspectives to come together, have spirited discussions, and eventually reach compromises that formed the basis of the American system of government. By understanding the values and ideas that emerged from this period, we can better appreciate the foundational principles of liberty, equality, and the rule of law. That is the “power of knowledge.”

Experience world-class insight!


If you are interested in being on our mailing list and would like to be notified of upcoming programs, please fill out the information below.