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June 20, 2008

Summer program highlights medical experiences of 18th-century women

Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum features the “Growing Up, Growing Older – The Clinical Guide to Issues Peculiar to Women” program at 4 p.m. on Mondays, July 14, July 28, Aug. 11 and Aug. 25.

“Growing Up, Growing Older” begins with a discussion comparing 18th-century information available on the menses to today’s 21st-century knowledge on the subject. Guests have the opportunity to learn 18th-century remedies for premenstrual syndrome and menopause symptoms. The program explores the relationship of the menstrual cycles to breast cancer, pregnancy and contraception

Many women today are curious how their sisters in the 18th century dealt with matters of feminine maturation, fertility and growing older. This program offers a discussion with Sharon Cotner, a member of Colonial Williamsburg’s Pasteur-Galt Apothecary Shop staff, about the medical answers available to women in the 18th-century. “I think people are surprised to learn about the level of knowledge that 18th-century medical practitioners had without all of our modern technology,” she said. “It is always rewarding to have guests interested in our research. The information was gathered for a specific purpose, to present the 18th-century knowledge of women’s health issues concerning menstruation and menopause.”

The program is not recommended for young children.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, Good Neighbor Card or museums ticket provides access to attend this program.

The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Entrance to the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg is through the Public Hospital of 1773 on Francis Street between Nassau and South Henry Streets at 326 W. Francis St. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For information and reservations call (757) 220-7724.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®,” a dramatic live street theater presentation, is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121