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“For 2026: Virginia’s Revolutionary Histories & Beyond”

October 24–26, 2024

Call for Proposals open through April 30, 3024.


The American Revolution of 1776-1783 implicated Virginia and Virginians in distinctive ways. From the proclamation by former Virginia royal governor Lord Dunmore encouraging enslaved people to join the British and resist the American patriots to the final decisive battle at Yorktown, to the first presidents, Virginia played a pivotal role in the struggle for American independence and the founding of a new nation. Some 200 years later, scholars, curators, interpreters, and educators are transforming our understanding of Virginia in the long eighteenth century, casting new light on the political, intellectual, and social contexts of change in the Old Dominion and the larger Atlantic World.

For 2026: Virginia’s Revolutionary Histories & Beyond explores Virginia’s distinctive role and influence in local and global contexts. The conference leans into innovative approaches to that past through an increased commitment to education strategies and programs, immersive experiences on site at W&M and CWF, along with the traditional focus on leading scholarly work. Sessions that feature integration of these different perspectives within sessions, workshops, or panels are especially welcome.

We expect to attract at least 100 presenters and can accommodate a range of sessions designed for researchers, educators, and the public. We encourage submissions of traditional academic research, the work of public historians, experiential workshops in areas of professional expertise, and others, particularly submissions designed to incorporate major anniversaries and commemorative events related to each organization (e.g., the completion of the Brafferton School building, the closing of the Williamsburg Bray School, the founding of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, the 100th anniversary of Colonial Williamsburg, the 250th anniversary of the founding of First Baptist Church, and others).

Sessions will be held in the School of Education on W&M’s campus. Site visits and plenary sessions will take place both at W&M and in the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg. Limited events will be available simultaneously via online video.

Proposals for individual papers, full panels, workshops, roundtables, site visits, and other proposals are due here by April 30, 2024.


In 2026 the United States of America will mark the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This is an unparalleled opportunity for exploring and reflecting upon the American past, the foundation of the nation, and its legacy into the present. Complex, inspiring, and often violent, this period informs our experience as Americans today. The better we understand that past, the better we are equipped to understand ourselves, address the challenges we face, and seize opportunities for the future.

The Omohundro Institute, William & Mary, and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation are joining together to host a series of five annual conferences to spotlight emerging research, connect a diverse public to scholars and research and convene significant conversations about how and why understanding the early American past is especially meaningful today. The first of these conferences, For 2026: Revolutionary Legacies, took place October 28–30, 2022. For 2026: Contested Freedoms was the second conference in the series that took place October 26-28, 2023. In 2024, we are proud to announce For 2026: Virginia’s Revolutionary Histories & Beyond, occurring October 24-26, 2024.

The Omohundro Institute is the leading hub for inquiry into early American history, broadly understood as all points in the Atlantic World between roughly 1450 and 1820 and supports and publishes the leading research into this expansive Early America. William & Mary is the top-ranked university in the nation for its early American history offerings, and a leader in integrated diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and creating opportunities for civic discourse. Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, dedicated to its mission that the future may learn from the past through its expert and distinctive events, collections, programs, and site interpretation. Together, our three institutions are committed to serving the public good through historical education, research and outreach to the community, the region, the nation, and beyond. This mission has never been more resonant, or more relevant.

For 2026 features a four-module structure incorporating both public-facing and scholarly conversations:

  • Panels and workshops throughout each day to allow presenters to share their work and benefit from expert peer feedback. These include history-focused sessions on the American Revolution as well as sessions on other aspects of Vast Early America along with sessions focused on teaching & learning in K-12 and higher education
  • Public audience events that introduce diverse publics to cutting-edge research. Formats might include expert roundtables with question-and-answer periods; scholarly presentations of familiar and understudied primary sources from the period; landmark lectures or interviews with award-winning scholars, museum professionals and leaders in this
  • Site visits that introduce participants to the Commonwealth’s local and regional resources. In addition to showcasing Virginia’s centrality in the founding of our nation, we leverage these sites to explore questions of evidence and methodology; themes of freedom, democracy and belonging; and strategies for engaging historic sites, collections, exhibitions and resources in academic and public learning and programming.
  • Workshops focused on how museums and other public history sites can incorporate new research, featuring both scholars who presented research at the conference and public history experts and