[Colin’s segue:] Outreach also serves the vital purpose of attracting people to visit and making their visit more enjoyable and manageable. Toward that end we have been engaged since last fall on a complete revision of our primary visitation website, colonialwilliamsburg.com. With our new site we seek to assist guests in discovering all a Colonial Williamsburg vacation has to offer, providing reasons guests should visit now, and helping them plan and purchase their trip.
Here you can see our new homepage, which reflects our overall objective to provide a simpler, more direct and easy-to-use portal to the most important information guests need to plan a visit.
Last week, we launched the first of 4 major updates to our online experience. Before the end of the year, we’ll build a new booking and ticket engine, allow guests to make dining reservations, provide new planning tools, and integrate social media. By early next year, we’ll have a new mobile website, and the ability for guests to make spa and golf reservations.
The site features all-new navigation, simplified to make it easier and faster for guests to find what they’re looking for.
We’ve completely rewritten the content on the site to better serve our guests and reflect new initiatives such as our new experience for “The Revolutionary City” this summer.
Colonial Williamsburg signature special events are now extremely easy to find and have compelling new visuals
For daily events, we’ve build an all-new events calendar with a new view, not unlike a TV Guide so that it is easier for guests to see what’s happening on a day-at-a-glance and choose between hourly options. It’s also very fast and responsive, and more accurate and up-to-date.
Events are also ubiquitous and found in many locations outside the calendar itself. Guests can see that our exhibition sites also host additionalexperiences throughout the day and evening.
Our new site is designed to perform beautifully on a tablet, so if you have your iPad with you, feel free to try it out.
RevQuest: The Lion and the Unicorn, Colonial Williamsburg’s newest interactive alternate reality game, began last week. This new online-onsite experience asks players, called questors, to help save the revolution by protecting the identity of a crucial patriot spy on the eve of the Battle of Yorktown. The game is based upon actual historical people and events, making it both educational and immersive. This type of experience is a way to reach younger generations and engage them in history and citizenship in a lively, surprising, and suspenseful way.
The Lion and the Unicorn is our second alternate reality game. Last year we launched our first, RevQuest: Sign of the Rhinoceros, which was a great success. Over 19,000 questors participated during the summer and this past spring. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and many questors, through social media, have expressed interest in returning for another installment.
In April, we launched a new summer microsite, which promotes our new episode of RevQuest: The Lion and the Unicorn
Guests can learn more about RevQuest: The Lion and the Unicorn and how to begin playing online before playing onsite.You can even acquire your own 18th-century spy name.
And share that name with friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Our new game features a brand new website that introduces the adventure through stories, information about spying, and puzzles. Four graphic episodes set the stage, providing an overview of the important events, both in Williamsburg and other colonies, leading up to the fall of 1781. The website also provides additional information and interactive puzzles, as in this case where questors employ the spy technique of revealing a hidden password within a larger message using a grille. Anyone who successfully completes all the puzzles and texts in the correct final answer receives an advantage when playing onsite.
When questors arrive in our new Revolutionary City, they obtain their Set of Orders, or game instructions, and the red scarf they wear to identify them as a questor. Throughout the game, questors will search for clues in the Revolutionary City, read 18th-century documents, and decipher coded messages.
Technology is integrated in the game experience through text messaging. Questors text in answers and receive instructions that help them determine what to do next. Incorporating texting into the game has proven especially appealing to younger audiences.
While a few other museums have created alternate reality games, including the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, ours is unique because of the interactions questors have with historical characters. To begin the quest, participants must meet with Agent 368, a patriot spy who provides important background information. As the game unfolds, questors also have to find the Greyhound, a British spy, and obtain some critical information while not divulging any secrets about the spy they are tasked with protecting.
Questors who solve the game are invited to attend a secret resolution ceremony where they learn more about the historical event behind the quest. At the event, they receive a token of appreciation and a card with the address to a hidden website that they can access at home to find out what happened to the game’s hero and to learn more about the sites and documents they encountered. This new kind of programming, which we must do more of going forward, places guests in the thick of the events as they unfold and asks them act in order to stand up for the cause in which they believe, a message still relevant today.
Colonial Williamsburg Community Leaders Breakfast 2012
Be part of the story. Be part of the story.
www.history.org/connectWhat does Independence Day mean to you? Be part of the story.
Gift to the NationSeptember 2012 3, 479 schools registered to date Be part of the story.
Rollout Plan• New design, content, calendar – Live now• New booking and tickets engine – Q3• Dining reservations, Planning tools & social media – Q4• Mobile website, spa and golf reservations – Q1 ‘13 Be part of the story.