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February 26, 2008

CW's education outreach examines how agents of destruction wreak havoc on precious artifacts

Colonial Williamsburg’s award-winning Electronic Field Trip series presents a 21st-century look at history’s mysteries with “Treasure Keepers” Thursday, March. 6. Produced by Colonial Williamsburg, the program showcases today’s museum conservation processes as fascinating – and painstaking – detective work.

We see their work in every museum we visit, but how do conservators behind the scenes win the race against time to preserve history for future generations? Every day, armed with an arsenal of skills and technology, these experts face new threats.

Follow Colonial Williamsburg conservators as they apply science in their investigations, fighting “agents of destruction” that threaten priceless historical treasures, artworks and other objects from the past. Learn why conserving our cultural resources is as important for future generations as conserving our natural ones.

“The agents of destruction — like time itself — cannot be stopped, but they can be slowed and their impact lessened,” said Gary Burger, Colonial Williamsburg’s director of conservation. “That is the ongoing challenge facing conservators every day — one that demands the broadest range of scholarly, analytical, scientific and manual skills.”

Internet activities for “Treasure Keepers” extend students’ understanding of how objects can become destroyed over time. The program’s Web site includes comprehensive lesson plans, a glossary, suggested Web links and a bibliography. Interactive Web activities guide students through the ways in which sunlight, dust, moisture, pests, use and self-destruction ruin our national treasures and family heirlooms, too.

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 PBS stations and cable channels. Registered users may also view Electronic Field Trips via the Internet. The programs consist of a one-hour live broadcast which includes a story on subjects from the colonial period through the early life of the United States. The productions are supported with comprehensive lesson plans, glossaries, timelines, Internet activities and online connectivity to Colonial Williamsburg historians.

As the nation?’s leading educational resource for early American history, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation uses the Internet and interactive television technology to bring the 18th century to life for more than one million students throughout the United States each year. For more information or to register for the Electronic Field Trip Series visit or contact the Electronic Field Trip registrar at 1-800-761-8331 or by e-mail at

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 two-hour interactive dramatic 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) 220-7280