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May 19, 2010

Timely topics telecast in fall Electronic Field Trip season

Colonial Williamsburg’s 2010-2011 Electronic Field Trip series launches with three successive presentations that are timely topics for the 2010 mid-term election season and explore issues still front-and-center in American political discussion today.

The series begins Oct. 14 with “The Will of the People,” which examines the presidential election of 1800, one of the most bitter in U.S. history, and provides a surprising lesson for a 21st-century student. Thomas Jefferson explains how negative campaigning, partisan politics and contested elections have been a part of our political system since the earliest days of the republic. The program premiered in October 2008 and won a regional Emmy Award for Interactivity.

Nov. 18, the premiere of “The Bill of Rights” explores an alternate reality where the first 10 amendments to the Constitution do not exist. Students learn what life might be like when a government has too much power and citizens have too few individual freedoms.

Dec. 16, “Founders or Traitors?” The signers of the Declaration of Independence were ordinary men who risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, but from the British perspective, they were traitors. Edward Rutledge, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams are three of the signers examined in this story.

Colonial Williamsburg’s seven electronic field trips are broadcast one Thursday of every month from October through April at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time on participating public television and cable channels across the country. Produced by Colonial Williamsburg’s division of productions, publications and learning ventures, the distance learning programs explore a range of historical subjects and time periods, from the colonial period to the modern day. To view a video podcast with Bill White, the Theresa A. and Lawrence C. Salameno director of educational programming and executive producer for the electronic field trips, visit

Each electronic field trip is supported with subscription-based lesson plans, interactive student resources, program scripts and other materials to help teachers make history relevant to students, grades 4-8. All the educational programs and materials associated with them have been developed by teachers, historians and museum educators and meet state standards of history, technology, art and literacy. Selected programs also correlate to additional standards related to the program’s subject.

Students in participating schools may submit pre-recorded video questions, send e-mail questions or phone in questions to costumed interpreters and historians during the live televised broadcast. Registered users also may view electronic field trips and use teacher and student resources via the Internet on demand any time during the school year.

The 2010-2011 season continues in January with the following:

  • The Amazing Trade Shop Science Race! - (premiere) Join the quirky game show host “Professor Eddie” and student contestants in a science game show set in the trade shops of Colonial Williamsburg. Students compete to discover the science and simple machines used by the tradespeople to reconstruct the 18th-century R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse. (Jan. 13, 2011)

  • Freedom Bound – Explore the struggles of slaves through three centuries of history as they risked their lives to obtain freedom. Learn about how their options and choices for freedom changed over time, from the first slave laws to the Underground Railroad prior to the Civil War. (Feb. 10, 2011)

  • Women of the Revolution – (premiere) 18th-century women demonstrated bravery, loyalty and sacrifice during the American Revolution. The stories of Deborah Sampson, Mary Perth, Martha Washington and others reveal how women on both sides of the conflict proved their mettle in America’s war for independence. (March 10, 2011)

  • Making History Live ¬– This behind-the-scenes look at how historical African American character portrayals are created for Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area explains how experienced museum interpreters use research and performance skills to bring the past to life. (April 7, 2011)

As the nation’s leading educational resource for early American history, Colonial Williamsburg uses the Internet and live interactive television broadcasts to bring American history to life for more than one million students and four million other viewers each year. For more information and pricing, or to subscribe to the Electronic Field Trip series, visit, call 1-800-761-8331 or e-mail

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation.

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. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280