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March 21, 2008

The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg launch new audio tours just for teens

Beginning March 21, the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg will offer a special audio tour by teenagers for teenagers called “Teen Takes: A New Angle on Art.” High school students wrote and recorded the special tour that is just for adolescents.

According to Patricia Balderson, manager of museum education, the new tour has been in the planning stages for nearly two years and addresses a specific need. “The museum already offers many options for both adults and younger children, but had nothing for teen-agers,” she said. “This was a way to get young people interested in our collections.”

The hour-long tour discusses 17 decorative arts and folk art pieces. Each object is described from a unique teen perspective and 11 objects have addition information provided by one of the Foundation’s curators.

Balderson said objects were chosen for either historical significance or a “coolness” factor. “The Thomas Tompion clock is included because we hope every guest to the museums sees this object,” she said. “The teen tour tries to present information about the clock that will interest teens. A blunderbuss pistol also is included because it’s cool.”

Another object discussed on the tour is the Stamp Act teapot from the “Revolution in Taste” exhibition. The Stamp Act Teapot makes a bold political statement against an act that was unpopular with the colonists and ultimately repealed. The propaganda of the “No Stamp Act” teapot is an excellent example of how political slogans can be used to draw attention to a cause.

The portrait of an 18th-century girl Deborah Glen in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum connects family life between then and now. The tour tells its listeners “Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine the average teenage girl getting married at 18. However that’s what the young girl in this portrait did. Today most 18-year-old girls’ interests include cell phones, college applications and shopping. This girl’s interests were quite different from today. In fact, many 18-year-olds in the 18th century were thinking about settling down and starting families.”

The audio tour devices are available daily at the museum’s front desk in the museum lobby and are free to ticketed guests.

The museums’ audio tours are the latest addition to other Colonial Williamsburg audio tours that include “Highlights of Colonial Williamsburg,” “Reading the Restoration Architecture” and “Voices of the Revolution.” Colonial Williamsburg Productions and Antenna Audio Tour produced the teen audio tours.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, Good Neighbor Card or museums ticket provides access to enjoy the Foundation’s extensive collections of British and American decorative and folk art.

The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Entrance to the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg is through the Public Hospital of 1773 on Francis Street between Nassau and South Henry Streets. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For information and reservations call (757) 220-7724.

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 tradespeople 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:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121