Access Daybreak: Behind the scenes of Colonial Williamsburg

Access Daybreak: Colonial Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WVEC) -- The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's commitment and mission to provide visitors with an accurate depiction of what life was like in the city in the 250 years ago is a painstaking process.

"We have this incredible devotion to getting it right, to really studying the 18th century," explained Peter Seibert, Executive Director, Historic Area at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

“There is a whole back story to the front story that people see when they come to Colonial Williamsburg and look at the streets and see the horses, and the carriages, and the trade shops, and so forth," said Seibert, "but behind that are all the shops, the functioning parts that make all of that happen."

They make it happen, down to the most minute detail that even the most skilled eye for the historical may overlook. That includes the thousands of nails which are made by hand.

Colonial Williamsburg blacksmith Ken Schwarz and his team fashion all the steel parts for the entire town. Every single thing you see in CW is made there, making it a totally self-sustaining town.

“Takes the whole team to put something like this together, and our guests can experience that and then come back and visit the building," shared Colonial Williamsburg's blacksmith, Ken Schwarz.

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes at Colonial Williamsburg

Attention to detail also can be seen on top of interpreters' heads. That responsibility falls to people at the wig shop.

13News Now visited the small shop, located behind some of CW's main attractions, where highly skilled wigmakers create hair pieces using techniques unique to the 18th century.

A lot of effort takes place to maintain Colonial Williamsburg's period horse-drawn carriages, but as Paul Bennett at the stables explained, sometimes the behind-the-scenes work at CW isn't about preserving the past, but guarding the present.

One of the carriages -- the one which carried Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Colonial Williamsburg in 2007 -- has a hidden feature.

"It's Kevlar-lined, to protect her," said Bennett.

To visit Colonial Williamsburg and experience the 18th century for yourself, you can head to Colonial Williamsburg's Web site where you'll find information including hours of operation and attraction schedules.


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