Colonial Williamsburg is offering free admission to the Historic Area and Art Museums on both June 19 and July 4 in honor of Juneteenth and Independence Day. Visitors can pre-register to claim complimentary tickets to the world’s largest American history museum at colonialwilliamsburg.org/tickets/juneteenth and colonialwilliamsburg.org/tickets/july4.
“The struggle for freedom – on both a national and a personal level – is a core component of America’s identity, and much of that struggle took place here in Williamsburg,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, “Offering free admission on Juneteenth and July 4 upholds our commitment to making Colonial Williamsburg’s educational resources accessible to as many people as possible so that together we can better understand our history and more effectively continue in our pursuit of a more perfect union.”
Juneteenth marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865 when thousands of enslaved people were finally emancipated by federal forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enact President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation signed more than two years earlier. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Colonial Williamsburg will commemorate this Juneteenth with a Juneteenth Sunrise Serviceon Sunday, June 18, at 6 a.m. under the Compton Oak. The service will feature a keynote address by Tina Lifford, CEO of wellbeing initiative The Inner Fitness Project and an actress who most recently finished shooting the final season of the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, Queen Sugar.
Free Colonial Williamsburg admission on Monday, June 19, includes access to a variety of special programming including a visit from New Orleans master blacksmith Darryl Reeves at the Public Armoury from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., a drum circle under the Compton Oak at 11:30 a.m., a special viewing of the Albert Durant photography collection – photos taken by Williamsburg’s first Black city-licensed photographer – at the Lane Auditorium from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., and a series of tours, exhibitions and theatrical programming offered throughout the day. Visit colonialwilliamsburg.org/juneteenth for a full list of events.
Colonial Williamsburg’s programming will coincide with other Juneteenth programming across the region coordinated by the Juneteenth Community Consortium, an association of organizations throughout Greater Williamsburg that organized in early 2022 with a common goal to educate, commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth. Visit juneteenthcc.org/events for a full list of programming taking place throughout the region.