Public Gaol, Keeper's Quarters
Interior view of the Public Gaol Keeper's Quarters, 1935. Opened as an exhibition building in April 1936, the Public Gaol is one of the surviving original buildings restored to its eighteenth-century appearance. This room served as a place for the gaoler on duty to rest, eat a meal, or work on paperwork. "In its present form, the Public Gaol has three rooms on the first floor -- a hall and chamber for the gaoler and his family and a cell at the rear for debtors -- and 'chambers' in the attic for the gaoler's use and the confinement of prisoners." York County inventories aided the curatorial staff in selecting antique furnishings similar to those the gaolers actually used. Among the room's furnishings, a yellow pine dresser (accession # 1936-34) is pictured to the far right against the wall.
Interior furnishings and decor reflect curators' views in the 1930s as to how Williamsburg's historic interiors may have looked in the eighteenth century. Nevertheless, with new research advancements over the years, the interiors of the Governor’s Palace have changed to reflect a more authentic and accurate view of the building’s likely contents and room arrangements.
(Source: Michael Olmert and Suzanne Coffman, Official Guide to Colonial Williamsburg [Williamsburg, VA: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2007], 74).