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Revolutionaries in Residence

Modern-Day Revolutionary Thinkers to Inspire You.


There was no place like Virginia’s capital, Williamsburg, where revolutionary thinkers—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry—debated issues impacting human dignity, sovereignty, and freedom among and with other extraordinary thinkers. And in doing so, they shaped a Nation that has captivated the dreams of people across the globe.

There is no place like Colonial Williamsburg, a 21st-century link to the heart of 18th-century revolutionary thought, debate, and activity, where the remarkable words and actions of our Nation’s founders reverberate, reminding us that the issues of our past are not buried, but remain alive today. Through the vehicles of historic preservation, innovative programming, and research, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has the unique ability to once again convene some of the world’s greatest minds to explore and advance ideas relevant to our country and the world.


It is fitting that modern-day revolutionary thinkers—the exceptional minds representative of American ingenuity and those who embody the very essence of the creative, entrepreneurial, scholarly, and even disruptive spirit of our founders—would come to Colonial Williamsburg to help lead national narratives and forward movement, as progress has always depended on the active participation of citizens. And, as our founders proclaimed, this participation always depends on an educated and involved citizenry.

During their residency, these revolutionaries will give inspirational and educational REV Talks at the Kimball Theatre, conduct staff training on their area of expertise, meet with donors at a special dinner event, and interact with visitors.

The Revolutionaries in Residence program is generously sponsored by the Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois.

ric burns

May 2017

Ric Burns

How do we define who can be an American—and what being an American means? The Chinese Exclusion Act, to be released on PBS this year, examines the economic, cultural, social, legal, racial and political dimensions of the law; the forces and events that gave rise to it; and the effect it has had, and continues to have, on American culture and identity. Flim maker Ric Burns gave a partial pre-release screening of this new documentary and led a Q&A after the screening.

chaz mena

April 2017

Chaz Mena

Bernardo de Gálvez, the young and enterprising Spanish Governor of Louisiana, played a key role in the American Revolution—yet he's been largely ignored by history.  As part of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Revolutionaries in Residence program, actor-scholar Chaz Mena performed Yo Solo: Bernardo de Gálvez on the Stage of the American Revolution, a one-man stage performance written and performed by Mena about “America’s Devoted Friend & Spanish Hero,” a man who led the most diverse army of the day to victory. 

michael twitty

February 2017

Michael Twitty

Acclaimed culinary historian, author, interpreter and “Afroculinaria” blogger Michael Twitty launched Colonial Williamsburg’s new Revolutionaries in Residence program, in which Virginia’s 18th-century capital hosts modern-day innovators to engage the nation with fresh perspectives that capture the spirit and relevance of its founding era.