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March 6, 2008

CW brings Teaching American History Conference to Cos Cob

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous Greenwich, Conn., resident, Colonial Williamsburg and the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich will host a conference for 40 high school teachers in Greenwich Public Schools. When Colonial Williamsburg’s education outreach goes on the road, Greenwich social studies teachers will have the opportunity to attend a one-day conference on Teaching American History, “Bringing History to Life in Your Classroom” on March 24 at the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich’s National Historic Landmark, Bush-Holley Historic Site, 39 Strickland Rd., Cos Cob, Conn.

During the conference, educators will step back in time and meet people from the past through character portrayals by Colonial Williamsburg actor interpreters. As they learn historical content and engaging classroom instructional strategies, teachers will discuss liberty, freedom, citizenship and slavery with political leaders such as Peyton Randolph, first president of the Continental Congress, Franklin D. Roosevelt, our 32nd president and free and enslaved Africans such as Lydia Cooper and Betty.

Each conference focuses on the use of primary sources and active learning strategies that make history relevant and exciting for students. Teachers will participate in sessions that examine the birth and evolution of our rights. They will learn how to use role playing, simulations and analysis of primary sources to make history come to life. Participants will receive a CD-ROM with lesson plans, facsimile artifacts and documents.

The March 24 conference is the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute’s second time working with teachers in the Greenwich area. Last year, the Teacher Institute hosted a one-day workshop for elementary school teachers focusing on events that led to the American Revolution.

Colonial Williamsburg’s professional development programs have expanded from the week-long summer Teacher Institute in Williamsburg to include day-long seminars that bring Colonial Williamsburg’s program to teachers across the country. During the 2008-2009 school year, Colonial Williamsburg will present one- or two-day conferences in eight states – Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas.

As a result of this conference, the Colonial Williamsburg staff hopes teachers will return to their schools with increased historical knowledge and some new active methods of engaging students in learning – and most importantly, a new understanding of how we became Americans and our role as citizens.

For information or to register for the free conference, contact Kymberly Thomas at or 757-220-7965 or Tab Broyles at or 757-220-7975.

The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich is located at the Bush-Holley Historic Site, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, Conn., which features the circa 1730 National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley House, home of Connecticut’s first art colony. Guided tours of the house feature an American Impressionist art collection and historic interiors. The William Hegarty Gallery presents exhibits that focus on the art and artists of the Cos Cob art colony, museum collections and aspects of Greenwich history. Open Tues. – Sun.; 12– 4 p.m. Closed Mondays. Admission to gallery, visitor center and house museum is $6 for adults, $4 seniors and students. Children under 6 and Historical Society members are free. House tours included with admission. Free admission Tuesdays. Take I-95, exit 4. 203-869-6899, x 10,

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