Solomon Alpert assignment 2

The first map I chose is the small paper maps available at Wawa on Richmond Road. The map is a road map designed for tourists. The entirety of the City of Williamsburg is highlighted in yellow, while other areas of interest in the city are highlighted in purple and green. The map is very obviously designed for tourists coming to Williamsburg by car, who may not be familiar with the intricacies of the roads but are aware of the names of the places that they would like to visit.
I decided to compare the aforementioned map to the flash generated, interactive map available on the Colonial Williamsburg official website. The site displays all of the sites one can see in Colonial Williamsburg. By clicking on a building, the user is able to see a brief description of each site. The site also offers a guide to events and allows the user to plan his or her itinerary directly from the site. Being that it is designed for flash player, it is only readily available for families who can afford more expensive computers and faster internet connections. The map is very well designed and gives a good graphical representation of Colonial Williamsburg itself, although the rest of the historic triangle is unrepresented.
In reading both of these maps, the graphical design of each of them caters to tourists. The first map is clearly designed for individuals driving or walking in the general area of Williamsburg, while the second map seeks to inform the viewer on all of the potential places to visit in Colonial Williamsburg. It also allows the viewer to simultaneously plan his or her trip. In general, the viewers for either of these maps are interested in visiting Colonial Williamsburg itself, but not necessarily anything in the surrounding area.

For my first time visit, I chose to walk to the Williamsburg Inn on the outskirts of Colonial Williamsburg. The Inn includes a bar and lounge, restaurant, hotel, and golf course. In terms of decoration, the Inn seems to take most of its design influences from the interiors of early American, wealthy households. The walls are lined with large portraits of wealthy, sometimes well-known individuals, and the wallpaper is pastel in color, with imprinted designs.
Overall, the general environment of the Williamsburg Inn gave me feelings of discomfort. Upon entering the restaurant the Maitre D’Hotel rushed over to make sure that I was not asking for a table, as I was not wearing nice enough clothing. Even before reaching the restaurant, the general environment reminded me of the country clubs (and other businesses catered to wealthy families) that I encountered while I was in high school. Perhaps my previous experiences with these types of institutions added to my discomfort, but I was definitely aware that I am not considered a desirable customer at the Inn.


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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