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June 25, 2008

CW returns to Louisiana to teach American history

Colonial Williamsburg brings its successful Teacher Professional Development Program to Baton Rouge, La., for a return engagement July 14 and 15 with its Teaching American History Conference, “Was the American Revolution Inevitable? What Choice Would You Make?”

Sponsored by longtime friends of Colonial Williamsburg Dr. and Mrs. Frank C. McMains of Baton Rouge, the conference is being held in partnership with the Louisiana Resource Center for Education (LRCE) and Magnolia Mound Plantation. Seventy-five teachers will attend the session held at 7305 Florida Blvd., Suite D in Baton Rouge. The conference marks the third time Colonial Williamsburg has brought its conference to Louisiana.

During this year’s two-day conference, educators focus on using primary sources and active learning strategies to make history relevant and exciting for students. They learn how to teach across the curriculum by combining literacy, economics and history and step back in time to meet 18th-century historical figures James Armistead Lafayette, a slave who participated in the Revolutionary War, and Peyton Randolph, first president of the Continental Congress. The two debate liberty, slavery and the choice to fight for independence. John Greenhow, an 18th-century Williamsburg, Va., merchant, explains the challenges he faces operating a business during wartime.

Teachers learn how to use role playing, cooperative learning, literacy, technology, simulations and primary and secondary source analysis to make history come to life in the classroom. Participants receive “Nancy’s Story:1765,” from the Young Americans book series, facsimile artifacts and documents, a CD-ROM with lesson plans and “A Day in the Life,” a three-disc DVD/CD ROM with eight video segments about Williamsburg residents in 1774, background information, lesson plans and “Betwixt Folly and Fate,” an interactive digital role-playing game.

Colonial Williamsburg’s professional development programs have expanded beyond the week-long Summer Teacher Institute workshops in Williamsburg to include day-long seminars designed to bring Colonial Williamsburg’s program to teachers across the country. During the 2007 – 2008 school year, Colonial Williamsburg presented one- or two-day conferences in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas.

Teachers who attend the conferences return to their schools with increased historical content knowledge and active strategies for engaging students in the study of history. The instructional resources and products teachers receive help them enhance their students’ understanding of how we became Americans and the role of citizenship in a free society. To learn more about Colonial Williamsburg educational resources, visit

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 daily 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:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7121