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October 1, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg’s Interactive History Series Reaches to Civil War

Colonial Williamsburg’s 2013-2014 Electronic Field Trip Series includes three innovative episodes taped at familiar Hampton Roads locations.

To demonstrate the role of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government, “The Balance of Power” ( presents an imaginary baseball game between the Executive and Legislative teams, with the Judicial team serving as umpires. Observers surely looked twice as actors dressed in the formal attire of Thomas Jefferson and the robes of Supreme Court justices played baseball at the College of William & Mary’s Plumeri Park in Williamsburg during taping of the program.

In “The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race” students visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades and fire artillery, knead bread dough and learn to sew, using their math skills to help the Continental Army. “Civil War Ironclads” takes students into the 19th century for a first-hand look at the Battle of Hampton Roads, the famous 1862 naval battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack. The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News and the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Ga., partnered as locations and valuable resources for the production.

The season begins Oct. 10 with “The Bill of Rights.” The program follows fictional student Ashley Harding as she is suddenly immersed in a modern world where the first 10 constitutional amendments known as the Bill of Rights were never ratified. She discovers a world without the protection of individual liberty, where censorship of materials is allowed in the school library, and her family’s home computer is confiscated.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trips are meticulously researched, non-partisan programs that tell the stories of our country’s founding and span a broad range of historical subjects from colonial times to the present. These distance learning programs, written and produced by Colonial Williamsburg, are created especially for grades 4–8. Electronic field trips are broadcast one Thursday each month from October through April at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time on participating public television stations and cable channels across the country.

Additional electronic field trips scheduled for broadcast in 2013-2014:

  • The Balance of Power – (premiere) Presidents, members of Congress and Supreme Court justices of the 18th century compete in a unique game of baseball. The audience learns how the rules in the U.S. Constitution preserve the balance of power between the three branches of government in the United States. (Nov. 7)
  • Women of the Revolution – Women of the Revolutionary War experienced hardship and victory. This program shares stories of bravery and sacrifice endured by women such as Deborah Sampson, Mary Perth, Martha Washington and many others. (Dec. 12)
  • The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race – (premiere) Quirky “Professor Eddie” returns for a competition in which students use their math skills to compete in a race against the clock to help the Continental Army acquire necessary tools and materials. (Jan. 16)
  • Harsh World, This World – Traditional proverbs guide students through personal stories and experiences that demonstrate the reality and emotion that governed the complex relationship between the enslaved peoples and their masters. (Feb. 13)
  • Civil War Ironclads – (premiere) Audiences relive the famous 1862 battle between the Union Monitor and the Confederate Merrimack and discover the crew aboard the steam-powered warships. (March 13)
  • The War of 1812 – Henry Clay, Tecumseh, Andrew Jackson, James Madison and much of America struggle to determine the correct course of action as they engage in war against Great Britain. (April 10)

    More information about electronic field trips is available at, 1-800-761-8331, or Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip series is supported in part by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

    Media Contact:
    Jim Bradley

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