Recent news about Colonial Williamsburg outsourcing the management of its for-profit business entities has inspired questions about the museum’s original intent and how it should shape the institution’s future. This article offers a fresh look at the institution’s founding, and argues that the original idea for the museum was far spookier than researchers have acknowledged. In fact, elements of the uncanny, from ghost stories to talk of spirits and time travel, have been present in nearly all of the foundation’s innovative historical interpretation since the 1930s.

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