One of the country’s most well-known tributes to the Revolutionary era is on the brink of financial ruin. Mitchell Reiss, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s president and CEO, released an open letter at the end of June revealing that Colonial Williamsburg, which markets itself as “the world’s largest living history museum,” is in dire financial straits.
Reiss wrote that in 2016, Colonial Williamsburg lost an average of $148,000 every day. The debt burden of the Foundation stood at a staggering $317 million at the end of last year. A big part of this burden, Reiss noted, resulted from heavy borrowing to construct a new visitor center and make other hospitality-related improvements around the time of Jamestown’s 400th anniversary in 2007.