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June 6, 2005

CW summer programs bring 18th century to life through hands-on activities, family programs

A is for Animals. B is for Brickyard. C is for Capitol. Getting children hooked on 18th-century history is as easy as ABC with Colonial Williamsburg’s Family Fun programming. From June 20 through Aug. 21, families can immerse themselves in several activities geared toward children.

“We have tried to choose a variety of topics to engage parents and their children,” said René Willett, Colonial Williamsburg’s manager of domestic sites. “It’s the most comprehensive thing we have ever done for summer programming.”

Programs taking place in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and museums center around four themes that are offered seven days a week. Two new themes that have been developed for this year are “Natural Magic: Revolutions in Science and Technology,” which revolves around 18th-century technology, and “A La Mode or What’s Hot and What’s Not,” which examines what’s fashionable for colonial times. Other familiar themes include “Military Might: The Revolution Has Begun,” which focuses on preparations for war, and “Delightful Diversions,” which discusses what 18th-century Williamsburg residents did for fun. Each theme is enhanced with visits to exhibition sites, trade shops and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The schedule includes:

Natural Magic: Revolutions in Science and Technology (Mondays and Fridays). Politics was not the only thing that was revolutionary in the 1700s.

  • Colonial Garden—Growing Pains. The most essential and widely available technology in the modern garden was the limiting feature to gardening in 18th-century Williamsburg. Come see what that is and be prepared to work!
  • Wythe House—George Wythe, Man of Science. Learn about the latest advances of the day.
  • Pasteur & Galt Apothecary—Eighteenth-century Medical Science. Explore what medications, treatments and tools used by 18th-century doctors form the basis of 21st-century medicine.
  • DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum—Weathervanes. What do a running horse, crowing rooster and an angel have in common? They are all on weathervanes! Explore the “Outside In” exhibition and then head to the Historic Area to discover more!

    Families also can explore 18th-century technology through Colonial Williamsburg’s skilled artisans, including: Gunsmith—Lock, Stock and Barrel, 11 a.m.-noon; The Weavers’ Art-DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 1:30-5 p.m.; and Brickyard-Brick by Brick, 2-3:30 p.m.
    A La Mode or What’s Hot and What’s Not (Tuesdays and Sundays). Explore the town to find out how Williamsburg residents stayed in fashion.

    Governor’s Palace--Lifestyles of the Rich. Discover how the famous and infamous lived in 18th-century Williamsburg.

  • Geddy House—Silver and Success. Explore the sterling family and silversmith business.
  • Randolph House—A Gentry Household (Tuesdays only). What does it take to keep this fine house and property running? Why does Mrs. Randolph need so many slaves?
  • Powell House—On the Rise! Mr. Powell is a successful builder. How did he get where he is today and where will he be at the end of the war?

    Eighteenth-century entertainment and transportation can be found at the: Powell House (Tuesdays only)-The Right Moves, Fashionable Dances Lately Arrived, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum (Sundays only)-Stitch Detectives, 1, 1:30 and 2 p.m.; Playbooth Theatre-Pleasures of the Playhouse, 1:30 p.m.; Powell Pasture—A Horse, of course—Status Symbols for Those on the Go! 2 p.m.; and Millinery Shop—Welcome Little Stranger, 2-4 p.m.

    Military Might—The Revolution has Begun! (Wednesdays & Saturdays). Our rights we must defend!

  • Millinery—Supplying the Army. Soldiers need more than guns to fight a war. Discover what the women are doing to support the troops.
  • Capitol—The Cost of Liberty. Virginia's new government must come to terms with what it takes to fight a war for their independence.
  • Gunsmith—Civilian Weapons in the Military. Many men and boys carried their own weapons to war. What did they have and where did they get them?

    The Magazine was the hub of military activity in the 18th century and serves as the location for several programs that reveal who played a role in the American Revolution. Programs include: Reveille—The Soldier Starts His Day, 9:30-10 a.m.; Musket demonstration and militia drills-10 a.m. to noon; Women in the Military-noon to 1:30 p.m.; and A Day in the Life of a Fifer and Drummer-2 to 4 p.m. Plus, Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums will march from the Capitol to Palace Green (except June 25 and Aug. 6) at 1 p.m. and hold a retreat at 5:15 p.m. on Market Square.

    Delightful Diversions (Thursdays). What did people do for entertainment in the 1700s?

  • Geddy House—Entertainment at Home. This middle class family enjoys its leisure time.
  • Randolph House—Company is Coming, How Long Will They Stay? Mrs. Randolph is expecting guests. The house must be readied and food prepared. Children can help with preparations!
  • Powell House—Off to the Theater! How Do I Look? What should you wear to the show? If there is no performance at the theater, you can make plays of your own at home!

    What else did 18th-century Williamsburg residents do for fun? Find out: Behind the Raleigh Tavern—The Sporting Life,10-11 a.m.; Palace Green-Colonial Games-10 a.m. to noon; Robert Carter Breezeway-Dance Pastimes, 10:30 a.m.; Playbooth Theatre-Pleasures of the Playhouse, 11 a.m.; and Geddy House-Dancing at Home, 2-3:30 p.m.

    In addition, families can obtain a front row seat to 18th-century theater during the evening program, Colonial Kids on Parade, which features a puppet show, dance, a fencing lesson and African-American music and storytelling, and is performed for young guests by Colonial Williamsburg’s junior performers.

    A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket is required to attend these programs.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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